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Archive for March 2005

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Trains of Thought

How about making love on a real train?. Sounds fascinating and yet improbable but that is exactly what Rebecca De Mornay does lusciously with Tom Cruise in The Risky Business and a memorable soundtrack accompanies it. Madden, a friend of mine, called it inspiring – he meant the tune and not the thought.

Trains present an unique multicultural experience. For the first few years of my life, I have been very fortunate to have used the rail road as the primary mode of communication. Since the seats are facing each other, chances are you always end up striking a conversation with the person sitting opposite to you and if you are lucky like that Karthik of Alaipayuthey, you might even end up meeting your senorita because of a train journey. In my arrogant opinion, the seating arrangement are a major reason for train journeys being more colorful and memorable than bus and plane journeys.

I have raved a lot about Motorcycle Diaries in my posts and I am beginning to rave about Dilip D Souza’s posts on his recent train journey. He recollects some of the scenes that he saw and he recreates the vibrancy and magic of the second class compartments. He talks about the eunuchs he meets in one of the stations and how she remarked about not being able to have a baby. To me, it was a truly epiphanic moment . Eunuchs are the forgotten, ridiculed classes in the human circle of life and rarely do we see through their feelings and emotions. Hmmm, indeed she cannot have children and the thought has never struck me.

Yet another poignant moment is in his other post as he talks about the young man who eats the discraded watermelon rinds. As I sit here in the Land of Milk and Honey, discarded rinds doesn’t sound like a good meal but to many people living in those platforms -it is milk and honey.

Some think about experiencing pleasure on a real train, some think about socializing and for some it is their sole access to food and in a small way, it clearly demarcates the rich, the middle class and the poor. As a friend of mine, always says “That That Man, That That problem”

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March 26, 2005 at 2:03 pm

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God Bless the Queen

Fat bottomed girls you make the rockin’ world go round
Fat bottomed girls you make the rockin’ world go round
” blares out my speakers everytime I drive my car. Thanks to my girlfriend Vani, I have a CD which contains the best songs of the band Queen. The sound of the album is unique and the CD is definitely a prized possession. Their lead singer and pianist Freddie Mercury was born to Indian parents and fell a victim to HIV in 1991. The dude has an electric voice and the voice is recognizable in many many sports stadiums across the world whenever they play ” We Will , We Will Rock you”. My personal favorite of Queen is Bohemian Rhapsody…..

Queen seems to have a obsession with “Fat bottomed girls” and they use it quite often in their songs. Incidentally, while I was at the gym today I saw “Hollywood’s Top 20 Hot Bodies” on VH1 and most of the women featured had pretty hot bottoms. No.1 on that list was Halle Berry and I cannot agree more. I think she has one of the best bodies amongst contemporary Hollywood women and she has that sultry look that makes loins stretch. People who disagree please rush to the DVD store near you and rent Monster’s Ball.

There were two other gorgeous owmen on that list who made me run faster on the threadmill as if I was chasing them on feet – Angelina Jolie and Giselle Bundchen. Since I started seeing the countdown from No.13 onwards, I wasn’t sure whether they featured Salma Hayek and I think Salma Hayek is ,as they would say in her motherland of Mexico, a “Chica Caliente”..

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March 23, 2005 at 11:32 pm

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Water! Water!

Water is the biggest elixir of life. March 22nd is observed as International Water Day. It is an unique occasion to remind everybody that concrete efforts to provide clean drinking water and increase awareness world-wide of the problems and of the solutions, can help make the difference.

It is indeed ironical that the biggest wars of the present day are being waged about petrol. In a few hundred years, biggest wars will be waged on Water- the true liquid Gold. Many might argue that they may not live to see it but it is a collective responsibility to make sure water is saved and is used purposefully so that future generations don’t start invading their neighbors just for the sake of water. The acute water scarcity is something I can relate to as a chennaite and is very much a sensitive topic between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, states in India. Elections are won and lost over water scarcity underlining the importance of something that has been taken for granted.

I am posting this to highlight the water problems in one of the places, I am deeply involved. It is Bhopal. Bhopal, as everyone knows, had a gas tragedy in 1984 and the perpetrators of the tragedy – Union Carbide Chemical Company did not clean up the site in the aftermath of the tragedy and they closed down the factory site with the industrial watse. These industrial wastes have been washed into the ground during subsequent rains an have since seeped into the groundwater table. So, the people of Bhopal are suffering the grave consequences of the disaster even now because they have to consume this water. Women have been the most affected by this consumption as their menstrual cycles have been affected, some reach puberty at a very late age, their breast milk contains a certain level of poison etc etc…

1) The Madhya Pradesh (MP) Government has failed to implement a May 2004 Supreme Court directive instructing it to provide clean piped water to the 14 communities currently forced to consume water contaminated with poisons from Union Carbide’s abandoned factory.

2) The whole affair reeks of yet another scam at the expense of the Bhopal victims. While the Government claims to be supplying 360,000 litres of water per day, itself a fraction of the need for 881,500 liters/day, the actual supply in February 2005 was a little over 125,000 litres per day–just 14% of the daily water requirement, according to data collected by the International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal.

3) Mercury, chlorobenzenes and naphthalene are some of the deadly chemicals that were found at dangerous levels in the groundwater. Nearly 20,000 people, including gas victims and people who moved into the area after the disaster, are currently drinking this water because the Madhya Pradesh Government has failed to provide them with clean water. Already, reports indicate that the contamination may be causing
an increased incidence of abdominal pain, giddiness, anemia, growth retardation among children, birth defects and skin problems among the 20,000 people exposed to the poisoned water.

So, people who read this post, please up the pressure on the Indian Government to provide clean water for Bhopal. Please sign the webfax here. Many of you might be skeptical about whether this might work and many may even consider it waste of time. I am telling you that it does work and the Indian Government has been responsive to such pressure for home/abroad.

To quote lines from a Bhojpuri poet who had written for an Indian rock band named Indian Ocean for their album Kandisa

“Hille le jhakjhor duniya
hille le jhakjhor
janta ki chale paltaniya….
hille le jhakjhor duniya”

For those of you who did not understand, the song talks about the power of people in shaking the world of its brutality, corruption etc etc. I love the song as it has a nice jumpy tune and also conveys the message. To listen to the song, click here and it is the fourth song on that list….

Written by Sudarshan Suresh

March 22, 2005 at 5:18 pm

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Hakuna Matata

Did you know that all hue and cry about Narendra Modi coming to the U.S and then being not able to make it to the Land of milk and honey was about tickets to the DisneyWorld? If you did not know this, then read along. Mr.Modi wanted to visit Disneyworld with ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ [ American Born Confused Desi, Emigrated From Gujarat, Housed In Jersey,Keeping Lotsa Motels, Named Omkarnath Patel,Quickly Reached Success
Through Underhanded Vicious Ways,Xenophobic Yet Zestful] people unfortunately the State Department disrupted his fun weekend. Modi was planning to replicate the whole concept in the center of Ahmedabad beholding Hindu tradition by replacing Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck with Suppandi and Kalia, the Crow. Also, Modi has asked AAHOA to push for his visa “or demand rani” as Narendra Modi is an anagram of “or demand rani” and hence she is numerologically suited to host the function and visit Disney World.

Also last week, Shakti Kapoor hogged the limelight for the first time since he lost his underwear to Karishma Kapoor in Raja Babu.. For some reason, he has never been careful with his undergarments and this time the man was caught red faced in the camera just before he was about to reveal his intimate apparel. As he seems to be fixated in moving around in his undergarments, the Tantex vests and brief company has named him the brand ambassador. Once again, Bollywood proved its lack of imagination when compared to the Tamil filmdom. The last time there was an undercover operation in Tamil Nadu, they placed spy cams in Trisha shower and this gave the world audience few minutes of unadulterated material making everyone other than Trisha happy. It is actually rumored that the camera was placed there by some MLA who wanted to screen the film in the assembly and show how people wasted water.

Tendulkar failed to get to his 35th century for the 35th time. He has vowed to kill Bucknor after he reaches No.35. According to the killi josiyar that Bucknor has consulted, Bucknor will live hale and healthy till he is 125 years old. Rahul Dravid scored 2 centuries in the test match and yet Ravi Shashtri and Sunil Gavaskar wanted to give the man of the match to Sachin Tendulkar as Sachin scored two half centuries in the match and also passed 10,000 runs in the process. “If not for Bucknor and the eleven Pakistani players on the field, even Tednulkar would have scored two hundreds”, they argued….

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March 21, 2005 at 10:34 pm

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Planes, trains and automobiles

I watched the movie finally that was the inspiration behind the KamalHassan masterpiece “Anbe Sivam”. Anbe Sivam is a clear as wel as a clever adaptation of this movie. Steve Martin and John Candy have given rollicking performances but at the end of it, my respect and admiration for Anbe Shivam remanined intact. It is indeed an exemplary work as Kamal entwines the paths of two people from opposite idealogies and delivers a timeless classic.

But Planes, Trains and Automobiles is definitely worth a watch…

Also,the last weekend, I added a glorious T Shirt to my wardrobe. The T-Shirt with a picture of Che Guevara, the man who undertook the motorcycle ride from Argentina to Venzuela and the journey has been captured in the memorable “The Motorcycle Diaries”..

Also read, Vinod’s quest to get this T Shirt in Chennai


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March 14, 2005 at 2:07 pm

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Dirty Dozen

DISCLAIMER: The title has no connection with the post. You can get out, if you don’t want to read after this.

“¿Está esto el vuelo a Seattle?” asked the girl standing next to me in line. Like most latino women, she had sharp features and an eye popping figure. I could understand what she was asking as “Seattle” was a give away and the line was at the airport. So it had to be is this the flight to Seattle? . I replied “Sí” exhausting exactly 4% of my Spanish vocabulary. She replied “Gracias” and took her position in the line behind me. My mind went spiralling back to the movie that I had seen a few days before that….

The movie is about a young girl in Colombia, probably in the same age group as the one that was standing behind me, falling a prey to her poverty and becoming a “mule” transporting drugs to “El Norte” – United States of America. The movie recaptures the trauma of these mules and you often left wondering about the kind of acts that are go on in these airports. Catalina Sandino Moreno is a powerful actress who does the role of Maria with great elan and she will definitely go places in Hollywood. Once again, this movie is in Spanish and sub titled in English.

Airports around the world bring about convergence of various kinds of people. The other day, while I was at the airport, it sudenly struck me how these airports bring about a variety of human emotions from happiness to sorrow to desperation to dejection. It is akin to a temple or a hospital where everyone from a great leader to a terrorist walks through its doors. Most cities tend to display a lot of finnesse in designing their airports and Kuala Lumpur is one of the best I have seen. As much as I like the airports, I hate flying. Everytime I fly, I am almost have the same feeling – the feeling of getting spanked like a young girl in a short skirt.
It is almost as if the time gets to a standstill when I am flying. I look at the watch a million times as if each passing second reveals a new nude women on the dial of the watch. The only thing I like about flying is that I fly Southwest and I don’t have to pay a lot.

Flying gets a lot worse if the guy sitting next to you is an absolute jackass. I was on a flight from Dubai to Chennai when the guy next to me pushed me into the threshold of insanity. The only remedy to these problems in the flight is “QUARTER!!!”. I have never flown under influence [as I never fly America west] but I should try that next time …. found out that a Vodka with bloody mary is $4.

So okay, the real reason for the post is the fact that “In the Air Tonight” by Phil Collins is buzzing in my head. I have been trying since morning to remove the damn song but I am continuously humming it…. His voice is really enchanting in this one…..

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March 8, 2005 at 7:44 pm

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Love Da Fight Club

Watched this piece of shit movie finally and frankly I loved it. What a concept!!!. It always perplexes me why I watch such good movies so late. when my roomies watched it, I was with my girlfriend. When my girlfriend watched it, I was watching Andrew Walter throw touchdown passes. Anyways, better late than never…. I don’t wanna divulge more because


1.You dont talk about fight club.
2.You dont talk about fight club.
3.Somebody yells stop. goes limb, passes out, the fight is over.
4. Only 2 guys at a time.
5. Only one fight at a time.
6. No shirts no shoes.
7. Fights will go on as long as they have to.
8. If this is you first time at Fight Club, you have to fight.

If you are a disturbed individual like me 🙂 who has many enemies and you cannot beat up all of them, you can live through the vicarious emotions of beating those guys up, by watching this movie….


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March 8, 2005 at 12:38 pm

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March 3, 2005 at 2:27 am

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My money is on Mani

“Ooravittu Oddipoidalama”[Shall we elope?] whispers Girija into Nagarjun’s years and the dialogue was so short but it conveys the thought and the exubernace of the character. It is from a Manirathnam movie called “Idayatahi Thiruda” . Mani Rathnam is a genius beyound words. He extricates certain complex human emotions from the deepest chambers of your heart . Most of his movies are breezy and his way of telling a story is different from most directors. I would rank him alongside some of the greatest directors of the world.

Just like Rajnikanth, Manirathnam movies have a stamp of his master class. He has frames, shots, scenes that would stir the sentiments in you but he never ever goes overboard with those loud melodramatic scenes employed by other directors. I have never ever had the hair on the back of my neck stand up with the sense of patriotism as it did during that flag saving scene in Roja. I have never ever felt so strongly about communal riots and its consequences than when the twins in Bombay get trampled and seperated by the mob running for their lives. I still remember the old man saying to young Kamal that you can go any ends to help people. How can I ever forget that Chandramouli Chandramouli mad act by Karthik in Mouna Ragam. Rajini and Mamooty’s friendship in Thalapathy, Karthik and Prabhu’s rivalry in Agni Nakshatram and it is a credit to the man that he even made poker faced Murali look good in Pagal Nilavu.

Mani’s characterizations are always people with whom you can easily identify. Michael Vasanth in Ayudha Ezhuthu, Karthik in Alaipayuthey, Roja in Roja, Surya and Deva in Thalapathy, Gautam and Ashok in Agni Nakasthram etc etc are all people whom you would have across everyday. I think his genius was also responsible in making Tamil Cinema technically sound. But for him, we would still be like Bollywood. Short sentences for dialogues, exotic locales in India and some great music are all hallmarks of a Manirathnam film.

I want to own these DVD’s and treasure them for a lifetime because it will be hard for another Manirathnam to come by…

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March 1, 2005 at 2:26 pm

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