Monday, October 16, 2006


One of my uncles who is at Virudhunagar, Tamil Nadu tried his best to persuade me to visit him once since I had not been to his place after I moved back to India from the US. Like many other of my relatives, he must have lost all hopes and stopped calling me. He must have been dumb-founded, when suddenly I called him up to ask if he will be free for Vijaya Dussami holidays which fell on a Monday.

He said "I will make myself free! How long will you stay here?"
"One day..hee hee"
"ONE DAY!.....well....I should be happy that are even visiting me"
"hee hee"

Before I knew, I booked my tickets for one hectic train journey! Boy, what a journey it was!
My ticket (yes! Indian railways allow to buy tickets hassle..Kudos!) read
Hyderabad - Chennai central Dep. (Dep Sep 28 Arrival at 6:00am)
Chennai Egmore- Virudhurnagar (DEP Sep 29 7:30) (Arrival Sep 30 5:00PM)

Virudhunagar to chennai Dep. Oct.1 7:30 PM Arraival Oct 2 6.00 AM
Chennai to Hyderabad Dep Oct 2 6.00PM Arrival 8:30 AM

It was an journey full of emotions..feel-good factor when I helped a blind, poor dude to an auto-stand and paid for his auto expenses..ab-crunching light moments when I met spanish unmarried "husband-wife" in Guruvayur express and their India-tour stories....irritation when I met Chennai-hating morons from Tuitorin. One jouney that I will pay a fortune to go through once again. But the best experience of the journey was when I visited Rangamannar (Lord Ranganathar in full costumes of a king when he "lands" at Srivilliputtur with Lord Garuda as the flight to marry Andal)temple at Srivilliputtur, about an hour from Virudhunagar.

One of the 108 divyadesams of Vishnu, it has its own "you-can-see-it-nowhere-else"
  • Only temple in the whole world where you will see Lord Garuda, standing beside Lord Rangamannar, instead of in front of him
  • Only temple where there is a well with in within temple, (not with in the outer wall, but with in the actual temple's main building, right outside the sanctum-sanctorum, right by the Hundi!)
  • It is the only temple which has a statue of lord krinsha with two shoulders and four hands, one pair hold the Sargni (shakam) and sudarshana cakram, and the other pair busy playing his flute. (Oh! the temple's art form are simply unmatched!)
  • Only place where Lord Ranganathar appears with all his five weapons (a little hard to believe, but thats what the temple in-charge said!)
These are just the uniqueness. What are the other Unique Selling Points?
  • All too familiar gopuram in Tamil Nadu's emblem is the gopuram of this temple! The largest until Rajagopuram of Srirangam was built!
  • This is the birth place of the famous Andal, the only female Azhwar who have translated Vedas into Tamil (and who are the root-cause for Vishnavism)!
  • The only temple that I have seen so far, that has the main sannidhi in the first floor rather than ground-floor!
  • The inner walls of the temple is adorned using the remains of the temples "Ter" or the car that got burned in a fire mishap (as narrated by my much relieved uncle..who finally got to see me at his place!)
  • If you are a connoissueur, this place is very well known for its milk sweet. Some that I couldn't personally endorse since that day all the milk sweet went out of stock.
In a nutshell, the most visit I have ever made so far!

Saturday, October 14, 2006

What a Tamilan won't admit to a northie..

Tulip Manohar Hotel, Hyderabad
There was an employees party in our company within weeks of my joining the company. A group of us, all non-Tamil speaking were chatting in Hindi as a few of us waited for our cab to arrive. Another Tamil speaking colleague of mine came over to me with something in mind that clearly bother him. He asked,

"What were you doing before taking up this job?"
"Studying...", I said.
"How did you know Hindi then?" was his immediate reaction.
I said, " I studied Hindi at school and I have a handful of Hindi-speaking friends from my Master's"

Satyam Theatre Complex, Chennai
I was standing in queue to buy tickets for Mask of Zorro II talking with my friend Srivatsan . Two Hindi-speaking guys behind us were hurriedly discussing on deciding a movie.

"Garam Masaala ka ticket miltha hai kya?" said one.
"Patha nahi..age poocho!" said the other.
He patted my shoulder and asked "Bhai saab....Garam Masala they issuing tickets for Garam masala in the counter?"
I scaned the counter for sometime and said "Abhi jo ticket Kharid ke gaya tha, woh wohi tickets kharid raha tha. Tho...shaayad tickets hai" and gave him a smile.
Even as he looked at me as though he just witnessed a day-light murder, the guy in the next queue (with tamilian written all over his face with vibooti) quickly flashed an instinctive surprised look at me before he turned away pretending not to have heard me speak Hindi.

My own close friend says "Hey cool man, you speak such a fluent Hindi though I studied Hindi for longer than you did"

These are just a few of the numerous instances of what tamilians truly feel at the bottom of their heart about Hindi as a language.

A Tamilian envies another Tamilian who can speak fluent Hindi.

A Tamilan has a bad opinion about the Hindi-speaking community. But given a choice (not a compulsion), he is more likely to learn Hindi than not.

These are two facts that no tamilian will admit to during a war-for-self-respect against a hostile hindi-speaking foe.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Innovation in cellular phone

I used to have a classmate at college from the middle-east whose name goes like this...Abdullah-bin-juma-bin-ali-al-mashrufi! Phewwwww (Now I don't know about the spelling, but that is phonetically correct!). Now it is implied that he is one filthy rich fellow. He was the only guy to flaunt a cellular phone. It was way back in the previous century you see..(1999). (God know how many girls he pocketed with that glittering useless piece!).

I still remmeber that day when my professor, in his resplendent oiled, bald head and three parallel lines of vibooti across his fore-head was going about his mathematics like a bullet train speeding towards Tokyo, when all of a sudden there was a deafening "HELLO" from the back of the room brought him to a screeching halt. The whole class skipped a heart-beat on what it saw next. Abdullah walked right across the class towards the exit, one hand holding the cellphone to his ear and the other hand showing a "excuse-me" to my professor without even waiting for his permission.

Its not secret that, since then the growth of cellular phone has been phenomenal! I can only imagine what my poor professor would have gone through after that. If he has not yet retired, I am sure this is a very good reason to hang is old, worn-out boots!

Features like FM radios and built-in cameras are pointed for the increased the price (over those that don't have them). But they are classic examples of nuisance value (thanks to Sadhu Agashe (Ab Tak Chappan). One pays at least a Rs1000 extra to get a built-in camera that takes very low quality pictures that she can't really transfer if she doesn't buy a transfer cable for another thousand and odd rupees. FM radios are not as bad, but pose a serious traffic hazard.

Ask anybody who has headed a meeting or delivered a presentation before "What irritates you the most while you are yelling at the top of your lungs", the answer will be "cell phones". Isn't it time for the cell phone makers to do something about this? Well, cell phones have built in calendars and I am sure people set meeting reminders about 10-15 minutes before the start right. So, it can't be that hard to set an auto-vibrate mode. Isn't it a good marketable feature, and unlike the earlier additional feature, useful?