Thursday, April 26, 2012

Ayirathil Oruvan to Vengayin Mainthan

I always loved SelvaRaghavan movies and in particular the movie Ayirathil Oruvan (Referred hereafter as AO) was my favorite of SelvaR. AO had a fantastic story in place where a group of people scouting for missing people in a remote island eventually landing up the island to meet the Chola tribe. I would request the reader to watch the movie from here to understand it better in case you had watched it.

To cut the story short, after watching AO - the impact of lost Chola tribe reminded me of Lankan Tamils (with Reema resembling the Madam...Parthiban - the Savior/leader of the tribe...resembles whom...u would got it by now...and with army resembling IPKF). On top of this whenever a Lankan ethnic crisis discussion appears....there was a question lingering on the mind... as such who are the real sons of soil - was it people from Mahinda dynasty / Cholas from TN ?...as If I can recollect only after the Kalinga Battle and influence of Ashoka...Buddhism had its roots in Lanka.

From Movies...going little far away to understand history with Wiki...and other books...though I am not an Indologist to relate descendants of Vibeeshana to Mahinda...but to read and understand the history of Mahinda-Ellala chola...- Raja Raja Chola and finally with Rajendra Chola....to understand the battles of supremacy fought between the erstwhile Chola Kingdom and Lanka.

This made me to read more on the Rajendra Chola (S/o Raja Raja Chola)
to understand the rise and conquests of Chola Empire. "Kadaram Kondan" was the title which was most fascinating of all....where "Kadaram" refers to modern day Cambodia/Kampuchea..(which incidentally referred as Khamboja..in Ancient History...and place which gave the raga Khamboji)...

Its a Herculean task for somebody to capture Kadaram(Cambodia)...SriVijaya(Indonesia)and the erstwhile Malaya Kingdoms...(I presume if there is an ethnic crisis - related Hindu protesters deprived of rights...in Islam state...people should understand the history of Hindus living from Chola Temple...where Thai Poosam is still celebrated at Batu Murugan Temple where as Islam came much later into their country.

Coming back to my admiration on Rajendra Chola's conquests -
He has marched his troops all the way upto Bengal (which is referred as Vanga those days) enroute he defeated Kalinga and Odda (which is modern day Maoist Odisha and also forged an alliance with Vengi Kings..(which is modern day Coastal Andhra by getting his sister married to a king...more like free trade agreements (FTAs) and bilateral agreements as a part of Confidence Building Measures (CBM) of modern day Governance.

Vengayin Mainthan is all about a triangular love story between "Ilangovel" (commander of Rajendra chola who rose from the ranks) and "Rohini" (the princess of Rohana kingdom which is erstwhile Lanka) and of course the third vertices of love angle "ArunmozhiDhevi".  There are few other characters and to name a few - VeeraMalla (who once was a friend of Ilangovel) and jealousy being his friend makes him to fight with Ilango and join hands with Pandyas and Ruhanas.

I liked this story and wants this to be made as a film as to see these characters on larger canvas and modern day CG with stories filled with betrayal, chauvinistic ego, valour, calmness with tactical brilliance of Rajendra C and narration filled with every piece of emotion we know. Probably my fascination for Cholas started to grow more than after reading this masterpiece which was also a "Sahitya Akademi winner" bagged by P V Akilandam (affectionately called as Akilan of Chitrapaavai fame).

Monday, July 13, 2009

Mr ChandraMouli....

If at all there is an evergreen character which I (many would have) loved in Tamil Cinema, it would be Manohar (Karthik's Character in Mouna Raagam). This scene is evergreen scene and nobody could have performed better than Karthik Muthuraman.



The highlights of the scene was when Karthik innocently asks the name of the Revathi's Father and one particular dialogue which blew me was "Irumma Sir kitta Pesittu Irukenla"...is ultimate...

I wish there are many more loveable characters like manohar in future...

~Lakshman

Bottle-tharangam....

I used to be curious about the music which comes from our own jalatharangam - particularly from Mr Ananyampatti S Ganesan, which is an undisputed master in the art. It needs greater knowledge to have the cups of different sizes, Water levels etc to play a song...

I came across a similar guy who played with bottles with skates, which i saw through You-tube.



I was just wondering how it would be if somebody can play a keerthana similarly ?..

~Lakshman

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Where were you all these days Kuntalavarali ??....

The first time, if at all I do remember, I heard this Raaga in Trichy when a girl played a beautifully krithi on her veena in one of the competitions and I came to know from her that that was of a Raaga Kuntalavarali. That was my first crush for Kuntalavarali....probably like many a love story ours ended there without much fanfare.

Last evening I was listening to Ganesha Pancharatnam by MS Amma and the fourth stanza of the song rang bells to me again after so many years. Its the same Kuntalavarali which I missed for so many years...listen to the 4th stanza of this song, you would love the raaga (for people who can't appreciate the beauty just listen to the tune...its an absolute gem of a rendition)...

watch out for these lyrics:

Akimchanaarti Marjanam Chirantanokti Bhaajanam
Puraari Poorva Nandanam Suraari Garva Charvanam
Prapancha Naasha Bheeshanam Dhananjayaadi Bhushanam
Kapola Daana Vaaranam Bhajaey Puraana Vaaranam.



This video has lots of Ganesha Idols (which I adore and the best part one of the ganesh is actually blinking ganesh-a...)

Coming back to the Raaga....the second piece which I would love to refer to the song "Oru Murai Vandhu Parthayo" was from the film ManichitraThazhu...This song was one of the best songs I have heard and seen where picturisation add beauty to the song rendered by the Vintage voice of KS Chitra and KJ Yesudas.

The beauty of this raaga it is very much on the lines of Kamas (at the first look as being the Janya (Child raaga) of HariKhamboji...). The place where KJY sings the following lines....

Anganamaar moulee mani
Thinkalaasye chaarusheele
Naagavallee manonmanee
Raama naadhan thedum baale



MG Radhakrishnan has to be saluted for bringing the lovely touch of western classical strings (it reminded me of few traces of Shankarabharanam...), but to add on top of this you need to enjoy the dance of the duo (Shobana and the guy) - it resembled me of synchronised swimming / synchronised gymanstics...

This is a classical version of the Sara Sara Samarai (Tyagaraja song by Manasa Ramesh.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Consumer Service in India - Part 1

I had listed out the pathetic instance of consumer service in India. Many a time, we as such we never care of Consumer Rights and we are being taken for granted. Telecom Revolution in India has come in a big way, but the way Telecom companies do work in a sh*tty way.

The Following are the excerpts of my letter to nodal officer of karnataka (when i was in Bangalore and this letter contains few derogatory references to the company and the way they treat their customers. If you kick few asses in India, things get done. I would encourage all people to write to their bosses, in blogs, to media to promote consumer awareness so that we don't we don't get shitty customer service. You have every right to screw them as they do if we don't pay. The moral of the story - Screw them.

Madam R,

I have just got your details from the Airtel website and if you ask me, i can publish reams of grievance and concerns about the poor customer care standards maintained by Airtel India. This is not the first time, I am at the receiving end from Airtel, but what is really astonishing to me its the sheer arrogance of your employees particularly the customer care to address and settle issues. I solemnly believe it is better to stand in line physically to address our issues w.r.t PSU like BSNL, then wait for days by pressing the keys to get replies from your IVR system. I have four Airtel connections ( 2 in chennai - of which i am still maintaining one, and 2 in bangalore, a mobile connection (997249XXXX)and a now broadband connection which is yet to come. If you want i will quote my problems and grievances with Airtel Chronologically.

1. During my Chennai days, It so happened that after 4 months of prompt response and bills sent, I never received bills all of sudden except for SMS, even though i have subscribed for paper bills. Suddenly Airtel is so conscious being environment friendly, forget the number of unnecessary phamplets which features all your Ads. All the time, i need to talk to Airtel, that i never received my bills on time and to waive the fee. ( I dont expect this to be answered, as you very well - say its a chennai issue. But can you provide me an assurance that these "ugly practices of charging late fees to customers due to faults of Airtel in karnataka circle is not there" ?)

2. My Broadband connection in Bangalore. I have requested for a connection on 21/07/2008 and they told me that i need to wait for couple of days for checking the availability of broadband in my area. Fair enough. Inspite of myself providing my neighbour's number and connection details, i never received a call for 5 days. On the 6th day, when i enquired CCare, I was told to call back after 1 hour. After an hour, the history repeated the same way. After few hours later, when i tried later, the madam (one Ms HaXXX has left for the day), leaving me to stay as a foolish chap. Inspite of my repeated yelling, one gentlewoman saved her friend and she was not ready to take my grievance, nor provided me solutions. Now tell me, If i have a problem with network / services, i report it to Customer Care. If i have a problem against Customer care, Whom should i report it to ? Sunil Mittal (or) Shahrukh Khan. ?

3. After few days, one more gentleman (SugXXX) called me and told me that he would provide me a broadband connection within the next three days. I had prepared to chuck airtel and go for BSNL and thanks to this gentleman's promise, I was retained by a false promise. One thing is common to Mobile and Credit Card companies here. As long as you need new connections, they would run after the customers, once the payment happens, its the customer turn to chase you as a dog. On last Saturday (02/08/2008), finally neither the gentleman turned up nor Airtel has changed. Yet another false promise like a politician during an election rally.

4. The last of the wonders from Airtel. This evening i was in a meeting, when one gentlewoman from CC called me to pay my bills by tomorrow, if not Airtel would be prompt in disconnecting my connection, as i was over my credit limits. Thanks to "Chota Credit"....What i couldn't understand whether the lady who spoke to me doesn't have the sense / so stupid to understand that i have a mobile office (Blackberry connection / service) for which i have subscribed for 12 months in advance. Hence the major portion of my bill is with the blackberry service charges and associated tax charges, where i would have hardly spoken for 500 Rs out of 8300 Rs worth of bill.

Could there not be proper soft skills training be imparted to your staff to address the customers properly and also have little knowledge whether they hold any premium services, its only voice and data before harassing a customer ? I am getting highly irritated with the credit alerts / notifications, as i never violated single payments w.r.t all my credit cards / loans / payments. nobody has bugged me better than Airtel. By now, you might be tired of reading my mail, as i am tired of your customer care (which i am sorry to say second to sh*t. You can very well discard this mail, as all your colleagues have done previously to ignore my grievances. If nothing happens, there would be day where i would never even hesitate to take this matter to Sunil Mittal / even TRAI. Thanks a lot for your patient listening and sorry for being harsh to you for all the mistakes of somebody else.

--
Thanks and Regards,
LaksXXXX

Ps: I would be happy if you can truly act on this mail and forward this mail to VP Customer Care and other big shots.


The best thing with this mail - I got calls from the nodal officer for the next 3 days till all the things were settled to my satisfaction. I would write in my next blog - what are the TRAI recommendations and suggestions to protect consumer interests and also the contact details of nodal officers to lodge complaints..


Lakshman

Monday, May 25, 2009

Akashe Jyotsna.....

I had read this poem after watching Hey Ram and forgot to capture the beauty of the lyrics written by Jibonanda Das, probably mesmerised by the piano recital composed by Illayaraja (I am not sure whether it was stephen devasi who played the piece for IRaja - Nee partha paravaikku or Nandri...)

The original lines of the bengali poem is described here (which was recited by Rani Mukherjee in the film)...

Akashe jyotsna
Phuler pathe chita baagher gayer karam
Hridoy amar horin jano
Ratrer ei niraboder bhetor, kondike cholechi?
Rupali paatar chaya amar shorire
Kothao kono horin neyi
Aar joto door jaayee, kaashter moton banka chaand
Shesh shonale horin, shorsho khete niyeche jano
Taar par dhire dhire dube jaache
Shata shata mrigedaar choker ghumer andhokaarer bhetor

The translation goes here....

Moonlight in the sky
On the Forest Trail the Scent of the Leopard
My Heart is like Deer
In the Silence of this night, which way am I going?
The silvery shadow of leaves on my body
No more deer anywhere
As far as I go I see the moon bent like a sickle
Cutting the last golden deer-grain
Then sinking slowly
Into the darkness of all the sleep
In the eyes of a 100 does.

I was floored by a particular line which had the lyrical beauty - "Ratrer ei niraboder bhetor, kondike cholechi?" - In the Silence of this night, which way am I going?

~Lakshman

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Great Indian Tamasha - Elections 2009..

Voter's Paradox - I always have this guilt feeling of choosing the best of the worst leaders as my candidate representing my constituency (which means i haven't chosen the right one anyway). If i fail to choose the one among the worst, I have another feeling of guilt, which reminds that i haven't even chosen the candidate (whether the right one / wrong) to do good.

I am not sure how to answer this paradox. If some intelligent person convinces me and tells me that "Arey ! you have to vote for the right candidate, say XYZ, what is the chance of my vote contributing to his win, when somebody offers free television sets, other ones offers 2Rs / kilo Rice, another idiot offers 25 kg of wheat..burning the exchequerer.

My next question would be - Is there any way to canvass / convince all my voters in My constituency to vote for the right candidate, so that my vote/right to franchise picks the right candidate - to do good for the people. I neither have the money / muscle power to withstand the goons/politicians of the modern day (Yaaruppa !! adi vangarathu...)

Then I thought whether i can sought the help of media to find out and project any good leaders, I never found even one single channel which is bother to showcase any real potential and take them to people. They are very much eager to fight to claim who is secular, who is pro-poor, who offers bribes etc, if not bothered about Size Zero of a bollywood actress / a gay actors - walk on the ramp.

When i analyse further, I understood that I had no clue of the candidate's assets / their background (even background checks happen for a fresher in a job market not for politicians), their nexus, their revelations etc. If i had lost my faith in political parties, is there somebody to stop them / arrest all those violations ? - I doubt there is someone.

If an institution takes a firm stand and advises the party not to field a candidate who spoke irresponsibly, why they failed to act against a former CM's threat againt a District Magistrate who is a lady (come on !! where the Mahila Sanghs and NCW now who protested for beating the girls in Mangalore).

If ruling party accuses the opposition for a irresponsible candidate's emotional address in a rally, i never understood why congress never apologised for his father (Sanjay Gandhi's deeds when it was in power)? or why there is a clean chit to 1984 Sikh riot instigators (I might sound like a BJP supporter, but i would like to clarify that I am neither member/attached to eny party)...

To me the question is why is there double standards when an opposition party does, an ally which fails to join a coalition is treated differently on similar issues by the institution which conducts elections, media and the highest legal body.

I never understand Secularism - To me its the most abused word..(Secularism is nothing but differntiating / demarcating the Religion with State - according to wikipedia) which literally means, there shouldn't be any religion during ruling the state / contesting the elections. If building the Ram temple - which is an action item in a party's manifesto is communal and not secular - which i accept, how come parties like Muslim league / any other religion can contest/have a name which directly signifies any religion.

The so called pesudo secularists (ably supported by all leading news channels in TV) never question anybody who represents a minority. India is one country, which stoops down for all the minorities irrespective of the religion. I have lived in UK, where I being a Hindu which is a minority / my uncle who is naturalised citizen there never enjoys anything as Minority...Infact you can't claim anything in the name of religion.

To me voting in Indian system seems to be futile exercise and (sorry to quote) but i believe it has the same result as a tissue paper after the flush. I was shocked to understand a foreign diplomat and writer who is going to contest from kerala has 21 crores (as a part of the "disclosed assets - mind you it is disclosed)...

Tell me frankly till few years ago, the candidature's allocated expenditure was a lakh...now increased upto 25L...I hardly understand how come EC came to conclusion that 25L is sufficient when i can't build a house in 25L. Elections are polluting, see the noise, songs and dances at the time of exams with MGR's " Nalai Namathey" songs when students are rigorously working hard...see the amount of paper used....
with everybody colorfully smiling as "varum kala mudhalvar (future CM)".

On one end, you speak about caring for the environment by not printing an e-mail, here its the other way. Nobody talks about, what they can do....(or) what they will do, how to create jobs, how to afford education, how to increase the standard of living of any BPL family - Blank NO....

They speak about Eelam, Price Rise, Job Losses (Even they are global repercussions and not state govt's faults - as they are not that knowledgeable to screw the system).

To clean up the system, which is really difficult, I would strongly recommend the progress card / report system of how much you have accomplished of what you said. To me India doesn't need a dictator, doesn't need an economist who can think and runs behind a lady for advises, doesn't need a scientist who can't do beyond the presidential powers of forwarding to the cabinet.

To me I would like to be led by a man like gandhi, a guy who can guide without any great aspirations(mind you guide and no remote controls like any firangi ...) millions to vote / not to vote, to make people accountable for being the servants of this country and not ministers/MPs who go around in cars, get gas connections in the capital.

If by civil disobedience, you can boycott the british army and generals, i sincerely believe we can boycott these men too who beg for votes from us.

Swadeshamitran.

Classic Nuances of Test Cricket...

I always have a fascination for Test cricket compared to ODIs / T20s as they are not for the mass (or) a mundane crowd. To watch test cricket, to understand the nuances of Test Cricket, you need to fair amount of cricketing knowledge to understand the Climatic conditions, New ball funda, Grass on the wicket, Seam positions, Shuffling Batting Orders, Pace of the Cricket etc.

Most of my words in the previous paragraphs may not mean much to Modern ODI watchers particularly in television sets. VVS Laxman's innings / just a leaning drive on the backfoot on Napier Test is more on the lines of a camera angles of a Kurosawa movie, a neraval in a song by MS in a Kutcheri.

I am pretty amazed by anybody who talks to me/anybody on Cricket, that a particular XYZ should have played this way (or) the other. To me playing, Observing Cricket in itself is an art. I would love to follow VVS/Azhar's Ondrive/flick with their wrists as much as a piece in synchronised swimming / dancing on the skates.

I am one of the few who feel helpless that Test Cricket and Spin Bowling are arts which are dying and which needs help like our heritage monuments. To understand and comment the game, I would strongly suggest people to play the game before they comment on. There is a widespread criticisms about Cricket, particularly test cricket that its boring, waste of time and not entertaining.

I have witnessed 2 tied tests, India's loss to Pakistan in Chennai (I still rate this as Sachin's best innings - considering the attack), Laxman's 281, Bradman's century on every session at Oval, GRV's 97, Gavaskar's 220 (Sir Len Hutton rates this as the best he has ever seen), Kapils' 4 consecutive sixes - I can go on...

Probably commercialisation, money inflow, BCCI's might has literally killed the nuances of Test Cricket. The way Gambhir played at Napier, reminded me Test cricket is as good as the old wine (infact it reminded me of Mike Atherton's Match Saving innings in Jo'berg against Springboks of 90's). Test cricket, teaches you to be disciplined, be patient, wait for the right opportunity, take small steps to reach towards milestones, conserve energy for the last mile and atleast also teaches that things will turn around as any other event in life.

T20 - probably taught how to earn money...nothing else except to infuse hard hitting cricket (totally a batsmen's game with bowler more like an side artiste in an Indian Movie !!).

Let the fans understand and patronise test cricket better and world of test cricket coming back to its past glory and entertain me and many more fans of cricket.

Regards,
Lakshman

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Confessions - Professions - Recessions

To say this in an optimistic way, its close to 2 months, I have been at home relaxing at home. To really paint the gloomy picture, I am without a job for the first time in my life for more than couple of months. Its quite frustrating and enjoyable in parts.

Whenever you work/slog, you expect a break, you want a longer weekend, a late start for a monday, early friday party. But when you're without a job, the initial period is relaxing for a week or two, but beyond that you start to feel the realities of life.

Recession / loss/want of a job teaches great lessons in your life. It teaches the importance of money, the value of whatever you wish to spend, the time you need to spend which matters most to you, the people who you will be in touch (who helps in crisis hour) in all walks for the rest of your life, the liabilities and assets you need to dispose off to save your face.

Life is a neither bed of roses nor cot of thorns. How many times in your life you get rejected for a job being overpaid / over qualified?. But frankly, I would tell you that if you have a supporting family, it acts as a Pain Reliever, but you still carry the wounds with you. Sometimes, life poses an ugly picture in front of you, but i can honestly, adversity creates the best out of man.

I am still reminded of Walter Hunt, the inventor of Safety Pin. There was an absolute necessity for Hunt to invent safety pin to pay a miniscule debt of 15$. Finally he sold the patented rights for 400$. The famous oil crisis of 1973, revolutionised the thinking to go for small cars. Life teaches you great lessons during moments of crisis.

I hope this crisis teaches me many more things to be a successful human being for the rest of my life.

~Lakshman