Monday, 24 May 2010

Kannalam (Marriage) Matters!!

Yes, I am talking about those crazy Indian Weddings. More specifically the ones from the south.(No favoritism, I've not been to any North Indian ones till now. So i don't know. Promise.) How can one not love these weddings? For one thing, they bring a lot of life to the air which is filled with smoke from the sacrificial fire. For others, the Mama shouting mantras from the top of his voice, complete strangers saying Hi and asking you to identify them. But every good thing has its downside. It is not a tough thing after all. It is all probabilities, NpR's and NcR's. Shoot some names that come to your mind. These south indian names aren't myriad. You are sure to hit the right one.

Talking of these marriages, I witnessed one yesterday. The first one of its kind. It happened on the ROAD!!!. Me and my room mates were wondering since friday night as to what the preparations that kept happening in our neighbor's out-house(out of the house to be precise) were for. I mean, the sea of people setting up pandals and dealing with coconut leaves. We got our answer at 4:00 AM on Sunday morning. Yes 4:00 AM. As most of you would have expected i was sleeping and i was in the middle of a dream. But our Mama(Purohit) decided to show his expertise and chose to shout all his Mamo Parthaa's and Mangalyam Thanthunanetha's using a MIKE. I woke up and went to check out what was happening and to my surprise, I saw a marriage ceremony underway. It wasn't long before my roomies woke up to their horror and realized what was happening. The first thing we did after we were awoken by this was to walk down from our second floor apartment and find out how many were there for the function. Obviously a thing to do on such occasions on the road. The marriage party had set up huge pandals and blocked the road from all directions. There were about a hundred people to bless the bride and groom who were seated on a dais in the middle of the road.
Suddenly my friend who is a voracious non vegetarian asked me.

"Machan(A multifaceted word that in the literal sense means Wife's brother), Andha Aadu Koottam enga da? Nethi oru kootam pathome?" (Where is that herd of goats we saw last night?)

We were searching frantically for those distinguished guests amidst the sea of people when i heard one of them call out to me. I looked around. I couldn't spot the voice. I looked down. Yes there they were. In the cauldron of Mutton Kozhambu for breakfast. The bride and groom on the road. Four goats pleading for mercy from inside the large vessel. Four eligible bachelors wondering what the hell is wrong with these people. An awesome sight for any onlooker at 4 am on a sunday morning.

In this already weird scene, there was a weirder proposition. As i had reported earlier, Mama was loud and clear using his mike. But there was a cross talk coming from somewhere. Equally loud that one. That one came from the giant Bose speakers next to my ears. Mama and the Music player had struck a deal to alternate their performances.

For the first time in my life I saw Telugu music interpose Mama's commentary in a marriage ceremony. It was like.

Mamo Paartha samstha duridakshayadwara.......

Akalesthe annam pedtha,alisosthe oile pedthaaaa......

Sree Parameshwara Preedhyartham.......

Mood osthe mudhulu pedtha chinnodaaaaaaaaa.....

Good God!!! This is what i heard. Promise. With a completely confused mind, i went back to my room and tried to catch up with some lost sleep. But Mama wouldn't allow me to. I took my toothbrush out and got hold of the morning paper for time pass while i keep enjoying the festivities.!!!

Now, the marriage is over and the bride and groom have had their nuptials(the consummation of their marriage).But it's better late than never.. So, please join me in wishing them a happy married life!!

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Tiffin Saptela Mama?? (Uncle, Did you have tiffin?)

After a hiatus, I decided I should fill this space with something from the crap-pacura bore-o-database of mine. The last weekend was spent at Chennai as I had gone to grace the occasion of my cousin's Upanayanam (for the uninitiated, this is a very important part of a Tambram (Hip term for Tamil Brahmin) boy's career.) with my presence. It is better known as the Sacred Thread Ceremony. In even more simpler terms, it is the juncture where Tambram IT employees( a majority of the tambram population under the age group of 22-35 can be categorized here) get to meet slightly aged Mamas(Maternal/Paternal Uncles) and Mamis(Maternal/Paternal Aunties) from the family, (near, far and very far) and discuss important subjects such as the weather, democracy, politics, US Mapillais (Bridegrooms), Carnatic music etc.

It is traditionally believed that the ceremony is performed to mark the point at which boys begin their formal education. So, in IT terms, one can say this get together is prone to involve a number of Knowledge Transfer sessions from the aged to the youth. Talking of KT sessions, one such Mama asked me one such question as to why I am working in a very less known company like CA Inc after graduating from BITS Pilani, while many other cousins from colleges in Chennai have made it to big software giants like TCS, CTS,Wipro, Infosys etc. It was a googly. I knew it would be futile to explain that the company is a big one in the US  and not so in India etc. So i let it go. Like in most crime thrillers and detective stories where one thing leads to the other etc and then the criminal is brought to light by a series of incidents, my conversation with Mamas took dangerous leaps. After having enquired about my inability to land a job in a company whose name is well known in the Tambram circles of South India, the aged relative decided to take a stab at my eating habits. This demands an explanation.
Scene: Dining hall, second floor.
Situation: Lunch.
Menu: Paruppu Usili(Beans with Lentils), Moar Kozhambu(Curd based Sambar), Urlakazhangu masiyal(Potato Smash), Paruppu(Lentils), Sambar, Rasam, Payasam, Vada, Appalam etc.

Immediately after the Samayal Mama(Chief Cook) served nei(ghee), i put my fingers on the vazha elai (Banana Leaf) and started licking the ghee. That act of mine is considered as 'Abacharam'(Wrong Doings) in South Indian Tambram circles and the act is punishable in the court of Tambram laws of Madi(Cleanliness) and Acharam(Neatness). Out of the many mamas and mamis sitting around me in the dining hall, atleast 23 of them noticed that criminal act of mine and exchanged disgusting looks. Their representative in the closest proximity to me called for an investigation into the disastrous habits (such as the one detailed above) which I have inculcated since leaving home post 12th standard. One thing lead to another and that sort of a thing ensued and the consortium decided that colleges these days are lacking in inculcating good habits to young fellas. As a result of which abyssmal young ch(e)aps like me are growing like weeds in the otherwise impeccable society.

Apart from the few of these untoward incidents that are very common for youths at Tambram functions, other routines were less intimidating. Four course meals, Enna da Ambi Sowkiyama?(What's up you eligible bachelor,How are you?) conversations,Iyer aathu jinglees(Spinsters from Tamil Iyer families), Hey-Long-Time-How-Have-You-Been's........ It was a wonderful get together and after a long time i met a few of my distant relatives who i thought were in Antarctica or Scandinavia. Contrastingly, they were right there in Chennai and this function gave me a good summary of the who-is-where-and-doing-what syllabus (a mandatory course in most south indian families). Besides these revelries, the usual seettu kacheri (Rummy) was in the agenda and the usual fun games like Identify that Mama in White, Name that Mami in Blue Madisaar etc were also played. A lively get together after a long long time.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Mix Yourself some Whiskey with Soda

Disclaimer: The text that follows is not worth reading if any of the following holds good:
1. Have some work at office for which your manager is right behind your back.
2. Your wife has given you a list of things to buy and you have just lost it. In which case you will have the uphill task of remembering what was there on the list lest you will be massacred.
3. You have planned to read something worthwhile for today and have summarily rejected any content that has no substance.
4. Your day looks so busy that you have planned only a few hours of sleep.

Then please refrain from continuing as i would categorize the following paragraphs as "Something of no essence"

It would not be news to any of the regular visitors of this space as the first few posts on this blog revolved around Wodehouse and his books. I have taken a long enough hiatus from that obsession and effectively refrained from writing on that topic for a while now. The reasons for the hiatus never stand to mean that i released myself from that Utopian, ethereal world of Wodehouse. After a few of my readers reprimanded me for being so obsessed that the blog was filled with praise for Wodehouse and other related posts, I decided to take a break from those topics.

But now, i have garnered the resolve to touch upon that topic once again. No! Do not Panic. This is not yet another book review. This time it is slightly different. As I had nothing worthwhile to do at office on a nice Thursday morning, I did a strange thing. I took my notepad and started penning down a few of Wodehouse's witty ones that came to mind just then. And then I realized I had a nice list: A few good ones from the best of Wodehouse! So here they go.

"The fascination of shooting as a sport depends almost wholly on whether you are at the right or wrong end of the gun"

"Marriage isn't a process of prolonging the life of love, but of mummifying the corpse"

"A melancholy-looking man, he had the appearance of someone who had searched for the leak in life's gas pipe with a lighted candle"

He had just about enough intelligence to open his mouth when he wanted to eat, but certainly no more"

I explain this to Jeeves and he said the same thing had bothered Hamlet"

Her face was shining like the seat of a bus-driver's trousers"

There is only one cure for grey hair. It was invented by a Frenchman. It is called the guillotine"

I always advise people never to give advice"

You know how it is with some girls. They seem to take the stuffing right out of you. I mean to say, there is something about their personality that paralyses the vocal cords and reduces the contents of the brain to cauliflower."

"Mere abuse is no criticism."

"It was one of the dullest speeches I ever heard. The Aged woman told us for three quarters of an hour how she came to write her beastly book, when a simple apology was all that was required."

Now, I request readers who were erstwhile criticizing my obsession towards Wodehouse to hold off from scathing attacks by way of comments. The post is basically like a mix of whiskey and soda. One needs it at regular intervals. Hence i pictured the 57th post on my blog as an "interval" and thus filled it with this restorative combination.

Monday, 3 May 2010

Dear Mr Joseph Vijay! Sure-Ah???? Fail

In the year 1992, Joseph Vijay...aka Ilayathalapathi(Youth Commander) Vijay, debuted as a lead actor in the movie Naalaya Theerpu(Tomorrow's Judgement). Rightly so, because the verdict was decided by then. Flop! Utter Flop! After giving a load of poor grossers to his millions of fans, he rose to fame in an anomalous Ghilli. But, slowly afterward, populace from most parts of Tamil Nadu have started wondering if he has anything at all in the place that is by and large occupied by something called the Human Brain.

I took one of the worst decisions of my life insofar while I was at Mysore last weekend. No points for guessing. The decision was to watch the movie Sura, his 5oth movie. Any normal Homo Sapien with a steadyhead would not have taken such a decision after having witnessed a few other gems like Kuruvi, Villu etc. But my wiser insticts did not prevail and unfortunately I ended up sitting in the theatre amidst a few kaili (lungi) clad, inebriated youth of Mysore. To say that those 3 hours were worse compared to my grandma's stories about Mr Yamadharmaraja deep-frying sinners in his oil container, would be to grossly understate the affairs.

The movie in layman terms was a very "different" one. Now, that would come as a shocker to people who know of Vijay quite a bit. Here goes the explanation.

Things that were different in the movie: Director, Producer, Heroine, Cinematographer, Cameraman, Editor, Light Boy etc...

Things that were NOT different in the movie: Hero, Story, Screenplay, Plot.

The movie, in simple terms can be explained thus:

for (int i=0;i=3;i++)

I am banging my head on the wall next to me as i type this and wonder what couuld have been a better choice instead of those 3 hours. A few ideas that come to my mind are as follows:
1. Search Google for 5 easy ways to commit suicide.
2.Watch this video with the repeat mode on my media player-turned on.
3. Have 10 crows caw-ing in my ears for 6 hours together and try to pen down that melody in musical notes.
4. Watch Rakhi ka Swayamvar on TV
5. Even better, watch runaway hit soaps like Kolangal, Arasi, Selvi etc.
6.Keep trying the cliche "My Name is Khan and I am not a terrorist" till i master the Kkkhhaan from my epiglottus.

Any of the above mentioned activities would have been a better choice by any standards.

Verdict: Mr Joseph Vijay can be suspended for implementing a failing formula for about a decade now. He can also me remanded to 15 days of rigorous police custody on murder charges. Ivan padangala paathu paathu, 2 maadu sethu poirukku, naalu paeruku kannu nollaya poyirukku (After having watched his latest movies, 2 cows have died and 4 people have lost their eyesight).

Fail!! Colossal Flop!! Somebody please shoot him!!