Me Thinks

Tuesday, November 29, 2005


There are two distinct types of NRIs one can easily come across when you are away from India.
Type A - The people in this group love it when they see another person of Indian origin. They go out of the way to be friends with them. After all, we are all away from home and we need to bond so we have one another in times of crisis - thats what they seem to think. You can depend on such people, they have no bad intention and mostly are nice though they might be a little embarassing sometimes when they talk about Indian movies or places or politics when a non-Indian is around and you want the conversation to end quickly.
Type B - The people in this group want nothing to do with India or Indians or even the ones that look like Indians but are from Singapore or Malaysia or Kenya or Fiji. They think they've seen enough Indians in life and don't want to be stuck with the same group especially when you are outside India. Its one thing to get assimilated with the lcoals and quite another to be deliberately rude with fellow countrymen. And people in this group are mostly annoying.
Invariably, these people end up working in a restaurant or subway or some place where you are destined to go. They smile at all the non-Indians and frown at you. And you end up scolding all the Indians in the world and wonder why we are rude by nature.

Plagiarism - The Hindu

I didn't want to give the title the Hindu plagiarism. I am against terms and people who use such terms as "hindu rate of growth" when they talk about Indian economy. So I had to rearrange the words a bit for the title. Whoever coined that term "Hindu rate" is a stupid person!! I digress....
Nina writes about how Gauthaman Bhaskaran plagiarises reviews from NY Times. Originality is the art of remembering what is said and forgetting who said it. I seriously don't remember who said that though I will remember the verse forever. :-) And its true in the case of GB.
Growing up in Chennai, The Hindu daily is like a family member for us. I am sure it is for many chennai-ites. "Read Hindu to improve your english", "Wow! He solves hindu crossword! Must be super-intelligent", "Advertise in the Hindu and your daughter would get married soon", "What Mr. X is dead?! I didn't see his name in the obituary column in the Hindu!" We all have heard these sentences. Over the years, I realized that Hindu is anti-national. Its a very left-leaning daily. And so is NY Times. NYT very popular and if it says a book is good, the book sells like hot cakes. Hindu has that kind of influence in the South at least. NY Times is as anti-US as Hindu is anti-India. Nina wonders "How could Hindu tolerate this?". Poor Nina, where else could GB have lifted it from? NYT and The Hindu share the same idealogy, so chill and stop keeping the Hindu on a pedestal.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Tamil Filmdom

Its not very uncommon to get annoyed with the film industry. I'll talk about Tamil film industry because I watch more tamil films (compared to other languages). I get irritated when I hear dialogues like "Thangacchi alugadha annagaaran naan irukken". Example - Any Vijaykanth movie. Or when I see a man that belongs to the brahmin community being an absolute idiot and talks with a heavy brahminical accent and has a "kudumi". Example - Anniyan. How many times do you see a brahmin youngster sporting a ponytail in real life that too in a city? And a brahmin woman would always wear a 9-yard saree whether or not she is married. In reality, you are very unlikely to come across a 9-yard-saree-clad woman unless she is at least 60+. A bad guy always instructs "Adinga da avana" and has a few dirty looking men at his disposal. A hero has the implicit right to slap a heroine and she would still sport a smile and romance with him. The man in the movie is allowed to have an affair and the wife always forgives him. There is absolutely no role for females in most of the movies. I wonder why most of the directors take the audience for a ride. If all this is not enough, we see female actors giving interviews like "I acted in 3 films that got released on the same day". You watch those movies and you realise that she was just present in those movies to dance with the hero. You get irritated that she used the word "act".
And then I watch some programs that make me smile at the tamil industry and applaud. The recent one being the AIDS awareness program. They did it during Kargil for the dead heroes and then again during the Gujarat earthquake. Now they do it for another great cause. Bravo Film Industry! We can't do with you and we can't do without you. We need you for entertainment, for such causes and very importantly, we need you so we can make fun of you.:-)

Monday, November 21, 2005

Baby question

"When are you planning to have babies?" Why do some people ask a married couple without kids this question and funnily enough expect an answer giving them the exact timeframe around which a little one would be born? Its OK if the person that questions is close but thats not the case most of the time.
One of my friends was constantly asked this question and she turned to an agony aunt and asked the Aunt how she should answer as it was annoying and rude. The Aunt said, "Answer the question with another question like 'Why do you want to know?'". This poor friend of mine took that piece of advice and when an old lady asked the question, jumped and asked "Why do you want to know?" and then came the reply "Because you are already very old and its high time you have one". My friend wished she hadn't asked that question, she was doubly hurt by that rude statement.
Is there any way out for people who don't want to sound rude or say "Shut Up, you are not going to raise my baby anwyays. So its not your business"? I wish I could help my friend.
Whats even worse is this. Another not-so-young but pregnant woman asked the same friend "Are you trying?" Who in their right mind would pose that question? And who on earth would say yes and smile? What is with people and why are they constantly worried about others having babies!

Thursday, November 17, 2005


A friend of mine, lets call him Mr.Lonely, always told me how ready he was to settle down with a girl in life and how difficult it was getting to be to find that special someone. He did a thorough research on men-women ratio. Some of his findings - In the US, the number of women is greater than the number of men. So its easy for guys to get a girl. In India and China its the opposite. The number of women is coming down so fast that if a guy waits for a couple more years, he would end up being single for eternity or would end up pretending to be a gay. Since India and China lead the world in population, the data can be extrapolated and its fair to conclude that this world has more men than women, he said. And hence his chances of finding a girl is more in the US or so he thought.
Mr.Lonely is a very humorous person and makes no bones about what he wants in front of me. If there is another married guy around, he would do an about-turn and go on and on about how he enjoys his single life and would make jokes on married men. When I asked him why he did that, he said guys are very insensitive when it comes to this topic and would tease him if he ever disclosed that he was indeed looking for a girl. I agreed. Some comments by guys can be cruel.
Mr.Lonely recently met his princess and they are engaged now. At his engagement, he was cracking jokes on how his life would be a jail and how he would have to get permission for everything. And there were single guys who were laughing at those jokes. And I could only see 2 sets of guys there - guys who are happy that they have a girl and guys who desperately want a girl. But their conversation never revealed that fact. And then to top it all, they say women are complex and men could never understand them. Yeah Right!

Faux Pas

"Never ask a man his salary and a woman, her age" - I heard this long ago from one wise soul. I would also add "never ask a woman if she is pregnant". Not until you see her in the labour room trying her best to push her baby out. Its a different story that she might not be polite and say yes at that moment.
Ms.NiceGirl works at the nearby bank and is always polite to people. One can always find her smiling and saying things like "Your daughter is so cute", "your son has become big now", "You look sharp today", "Mr.X, you look half your age" and such pleasantries. People like talking to her too. An old customer was at the bank the other day and Ms.NiceGirl goes "Oh! You look beautiful. When is your due date?". Pat comes the reply "I delivered 2 months ago" accompanied by a curt "you moron" look. Its bad enough that women have to go through labour and the ensuing baby blues, the last thing she would want is someone telling her that her belly is still big. I don't blame the new Mom. I guess sometimes its OK not to act too friendly and personal.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005


The word "unconditionally" is almost always in the same sentence as the word "love". Is there anything called unconditional love? Don't expect a rational answer from the ones who are hopelessly smitten by someone and hope to spend the rest of their lives with that someone. Anybody that doesn't belong to that group can try answering.
I feel the only love thats unconditional is the love a parent (mother?) has towards his/her kid. If the kid hates her, she would still love the kid and that would continue for the rest of her life. Does this happen in any other relationship? When a wife loves her husband or vice-versa, they expect the other to reciprocate the same amount of love. When that doesn't happen, they go separate ways (if not legally at least emotionally) A love-lorn girl or guy loves the other and hopes their love is also reciprocated. How can it be termed unconditional then? I had a friend who was madly in love with a girl and she got married to someone else. He continued to say he loved her unconditionally till he got married. And now he and his wife live happily and a kid is in the offing. Love between friends, siblings etc also fall under the same category - conditional love. Even the love a child has for his/her parents is conditional. When the first (or only) condition for love is "Love me back", it shouldn't be called an unconditional love. Right?


Mr.Pious always said his morning prayers before he left for work, even if he got up late. He would go to work at the bank and light the lamp he had at his cube and say a small prayer before starting work every morning. There would be people making a big line at his counter. But isn't God more important than these money-loving people? In any case, waiting at the counter for a few extra minutes would make them more tolerant and patient in life, he thought.
He is retired and gets his pension now. For the past few months, the pension amount has not been credited properly. So he goes to the pension office to talk to them about it. Its been 2 hours since he came and the line at the counter is not moving. Turns out the lady at the counter is busy with her own work. He gets annoyed, why can't people do the work they are paid for instead of making people wait that too in the morning! He believes in Karma and hopes the lady would go through the same fate someday. After all, what goes around comes around.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005


Naxalites are the most loathsome creatures. These extreme left-wingers don't care anything about law and are proud gun-owners whose only mission in life is to kill people in the name of redistributing wealth ad helping the poor. Chenthil is right in this post when he asks why the blogworld is quiet on the atrocities perpetrated by this group. When Nepal burned, I realized these Maoists are not the ones to be taken lightly. With Andhra having a submissive and spineless Government that refuses to check the activities of these naxalites, its getting easier by the day for them to wreck people's lives. Andhra-Orissa-Bihar is their hub now. As if the naxalite menace is not enough, we have another group, Ranvir Sena in Bihar, which thinks by opposing the naxalites and killing its supporters, it might increase its popularity ratings. Read this here. And we know what this Sena is all about. They gouge little kids' eyes, parade women naked, kill men and do such things because they don't belong to the upper-caste. Sick!

Update on France

We always think the Western world is more civilised and the quality of life is always better there. Well, looks like thats not the case always. France is not all about fashion and wine as we think. Hope normacly returns soon. Here is wishing the people of France a better life than what they have now. The following article forwarded by my friend kind of startled me.

SAINT DENIS, France, Nov 10 (Reuters) - With nightly scenes of rioting beamed around the globe, the world has learned that France's bleak suburbs are enclaves of gang wars and macho rules. The girls living there have known this for years.

Even before the riots, Ophelia, 16, used to run home from school every day because she was afraid of being attacked in the maze of high-rise buildings in her suburb northeast of Paris.

A series of gang rapes in these bleak housing estates shocked France a few years ago. In 2002, a 17-year-old girl was set alight by an 18-year-old boy as his friends stood by.

Walking near a burned-out garbage bin, Ophelia's twin sister Sandra says the riots came as no surprise. Violence against and pressure on women is part of daily life in the suburbs, where boys can dictate how girls should dress.

"You have to behave like a guy and look like a guy. If you wear a skirt, you get into immediate trouble. You're a slut," says Sandra, wearing a baggy sweatshirt and jeans.

Sandra and her sister grew up in the nearby Clichy-sous-Bois suburb, where the riots broke out after the accidental death of two teenage boys on Oct. 27.

The violence spread across France, with young men venting deep anger about racism, unemployment and a bleak future.

But not many girls have taken part, and many say they are fed up with consecutive nights of violence.

Apart from poverty, feminists say the dominance of traditional cultures among families of Arab and black African origin, combined with the growing role of Islam in the suburbs, have contributed to the harsh treatment girls get there.

Pressure is mounting for Muslim women to wear veils. Forced marriages that snatch them from college and career -- where they do much better than their male schoolmates -- are on the rise.

The support group "Ni Putes, Ni Soumises" ("Neither Whores nor Submissives") says the number of forced marriages has risen in recent years, with roughly 70,000 girls pressured into unwanted relationships each year in France.


"There is so much violence in the suburbs because there is so much poverty here," said Ourdia Aibeche, who runs a soup kitchen in Saint Denis, a rundown suburb north of Paris where France's kings are buried.

"There is a saying: If there is no money in the house, there is war in the house," she said.

Violence comes in different forms, says Sarah Oussekine, who leads the feminist Voix d'Elles-Rebelles group from a small office in a grey housing estate in Saint Denis.

"Many come to us because they have been beaten by members of their families," she said. "And there are lots of women between the age of 17 and 30 who are being forced into marriage," she said, adding her group was advising some 3,500 women a year.

Oussekine said many girls of African origin were depressed because they failed to lead a modern French life and fulfil their families' expectations at the same time.

"One day, their father comes along and says: 'Marry this man. He's a good guy. He'll treat you well'," Oussekine says.

Aisha's father did so. The 22-year-old, who did not want to give her real name, ran away from her family last night because her father told her she would have to marry a distant relative or be sent to live with family in Algeria.

"I can't go back to my parents," said the soft-spoken girl.

Oussekine says the conservative government of Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin should provide groups like hers with means to educate young women and offer them hope.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Series Win

Warms the cockles of my heart to see India win the series 6-1 against Sri Lanka. When was the last time we won a series this comprehensively? We may not have a Bevan, Gilshrist or a Rhodes yet in our team but we have people who strive to be like that. They contribute to the team and their attitude shows in the way they throw themselves in the field. It doesn't matter how many matches they win as long as they play like this. And the Sachin fan in me says - after years of hardwork and pressured shoulders, he finally is part of a team that's not dependent on him. Go Team India!

Saturday, November 12, 2005


I never used to like thayirsadham or curd rice (or yoghurt rice if you will) for a long time. I don't remember exactly when I fell in love with this dish. But if I make a list of items that I would love to have at any time of the day, thayirsadham would be at the top of the list. Its not only simple to prepare but it almost always tastes good. Even though it was called thayirsadham, it was more of a diluted buttermilk or "more-sadham" most of the time for us when we were growing up. And I liked all variants of this dish.
I've always been ridiculed by people who have said things like "Muttal ku more sadham" or "tharudhalai ku thayirsadham".
My cousin and I had a very intellectually-stimulating conversation recently and we discovered why they said so. If a muttaal (an insane person) eats more sadham, he becomes clever and if a tharudhalai(cant translate this exactly, maybe irresponsible) eats thayirsadham, he becomes a good responsible guy. So those statements actually give a cure for two problems. We were so happy that we solved the greatest mystery of our lifetime. I am sure there are many more "pazhamozhis" (proverbs) like this that have been misinterpreted by people. My mission is to unravel them for the betterment of people like me.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Boys and Girls

When I was a "new" teenager and if my brother called out my name loud on the road, he was berated in public by all the elders in vicinity. They did so because all the rowdies of the area would call me by my name. They had a point.
I have seen things like that happen. What kick does a guy get by calling a girl by her name on the road? What is so manly about it? I never understood. Also, I have seen girls crying and running home after a guy called her by her own name. Her secret identity is revealed. And then the guy feels good and the girl feels bad after this episode of "eve-teasing".
We all must have witnessed this scene in a bus stop many times. A guy is interested in a girl who is standing in the bus stop. He makes the master of all moves to woo her by asking "Hello, whats the time?". Pat comes the reply "Chee! Akka thangacchi oda purandhadhu illa?" (Don't you have sisters?) and she moves away. A "rowdier" guy would stand with his gang of friends and say things like "your salwar is nice, where did you buy?", "Is she your friend?" or some arbitrary question for which he doesn't expect an answer and he is happy with the "you idiot" look the girl throws.
Are these days behind us? Do the teenagers come up with better ideas these days? I wonder....

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

The zh in Tamizh

I've always wondered who came up with the idea of using the letters z and h to get the zh sound, which is exclusive to only tamil & malayalam. If that sound is not present in other languages, we should use something thats very close like the letter L. In fact, many tamilians pronounce tamizh as tamiL. So L would've been a better choice. Even Captain Vijaykanth says TamiL (right kaps?). South Indian languages dont have certain sounds that are present in N.Indian. But we make do with whats available and get the closest possible sound. But using z and h totally defies any logic. Any non-tamilian would say tamiz and not what we desire.
I tried something different recently. To make my American friend pronounce the word properly, I wrote T-A-M-I-R and lo behold, he pronounced it exactly the way it should be pronounced. Whoever came up with the 'zh' idea must be a creatively-challenged person. Don't you think so?

Monday, November 07, 2005

MS in the US

Have you heard this story before?
Mr.Guy comes to the US to do Masters. Misses home very badly in the initial months. Listens to Ilayaraaja's music, S.Ve.Sekar drama etc frequently and misses home even more. Then slowly gets into the grind of things at school, has fun with roomies, meets Ms. Girl during the "Indian night" celebration at school and they hit it off really well. The hang out together. Kishore Kumar, Rafi, ARRehman (melodies) et al find a place in his shelf thanks to her. Roomies make fun of them, ask him if they are going out. He does a "Chee, just friends da" and enjoys all the ragging inwardly. Come Valentine's Day, gathers enough courage to ask her out for dinner. She pumps her fist inside her closed room. They go out. Come summer, he decides to visit India. Calls her parents and pays a visit to her place, meets with her brother/sister and gives tips on cracking GRE. Remembers to pass on the items she had sent and also gives a few packets of chocolates. Hangs out with friends and returns home.
Then the usual school exams come and they spend more time with each other. Come winter, its her turn to go home. She wears her best clothes and visits his parents. Meets his cousin/brother/sister and gives GRE tips. Asks parents to wait before they advertise on matrimonial websites and journals. Comes back and tells him how her parents want her to get married and how this whole thing is so funny and hopes that disturbs him. Mr.Guy gets his first jitters.
Some more time passes, no more missing home and they all have fun with their respective friends circle and their "new best friend". Its already time to defend, scout for job and graduate. The tacit relationship they knew existed has to be defined now if they want to proceed.
Now, this story has 2 endings.
The first one, he "proposes" to her, she accepts, they work out a strategy by which both would get a job in the same area. Tell parents after a year, get married and live happily ever after. He feels happy that he got married to his love.
The second one, nobody proposes, they get a job each and something happens and they have a "break-up". Go to different places and start working. His parents want him to get married. They advertise in all possible media and finally find a "homely" girl that is suitable "for the family". Lets call her Ms.Girl2. She had a heartbreak when she was in engineering college/NIIT/Aptech/NIS/..... and has gotten over it totally and is ready to move on. They mail, chat, talk over the phone and discover a chemistry. He comes down, they meet and decide to get married. Back to the US and they live happily ever after. He feels happy that he didn't get married to his love.

Friday, November 04, 2005

The laughable Left

In India left is associated with something bad or inauspicious. When my cousin started writing using her left hand, my aunt tried her level best to change it as it was deemed as bad luck. That was my first encounter with "left is bad". That incident and the subsequent inference kind of got tattooed my mind.
Now when I read these reports, I understand why communist parties are called the Left. They are not only bad but are also laughable and dangerous.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Fear in France

Whats happening in France is scary. A few people take law in their hands and drive the normal people crazy and when they do this in the name of religion, it scares me. To get a gist of what happened, read this.
Knowing the mutual hatred Americans and French have for each other, its safe to assume that the above piece would have been written by an American.
That aside, approximately at what age does religion take over a person? Because when that happens, he only thinks of destroying other people. I've never heard of or seen a religious zealot being a peace-loving person. God save humanity.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

The day called Deepavali/Diwali

In India, its that time of the year when there is a sweet smell in the air - the smell of fire crackers and there is celebration all around.
Its that time of the year when activists think of the poor kids in Sivakasi and ask you not to purchase fire crackers.
Its that time of the year when you wear new clothes, go to the temple and sometimes pray.
Elsewhere, its that time of the year when you miss India very badly.
Its that time of the year when you want to celebrate but its just another work day for people around you.
Its that time of the year when you want to burst some fire crackers, watch special programs on TV, eat delicacies and share them with neighbours but you are sitting in front of the computer and blogging....
Happy Deepavali everyone.

Wanted: Dada sans dada-giri

Bachelor's comment "Miss Sourav though" on my blog got me thinking. I have been so annoyed with Ganguly of late. Moreso, after his public bickering with Greg Chapell. He was starting to act like a politician - holding on to his chair and refusing to perform.
Lets rewind and go back in time. Remember the Toronto Friendship series? Tendulkar called Ganguly his secret weapon. He was not only batting well but was also taking wickets very often. Whenever Aussies or Pakistanis gave a dreadful stare or sledged and Indian cricketers gave a meek look in return, I wondered when India would ever be bestowed with players, who not only play well but also match these teams in staring & annoying (not sledging) The moment of glory was when Sourav removed his shirt and swung it in air sitting on the balcony at the Lord's. I thought India had finally "arrived". Under his captaincy, even youngsters like Harbhajan "wont-shut-up" Singh and Zaheer Khan gave that stare, some comments here & there and started playing what aussies call "mind games". Finally, we had a captain who was aggressive, I thought. He matched it with good performance with his bat. Centuries in world cup (never mind if it came against minnows - our openers failed then and dada stood firm), the century against Aussies in the first test when we toured there were simply superb.
Cricket fans like me loved it when Ganguly would give curt replies to journalists when they asked questions just to annoy him. And the team rallied around him. Oh My God! I miss that huddle. Wonder when Lord Shani decided to hold him by the scruff of his neck! (in tamil they say, when Lord Shani governs your star, things always go awry) Nothing went right for him. Finally, when he did hit a century against Zimbabwe, he couldn't keep his mouth shut and acted very irresponsibly. He is out now and is struggling to get back into the team.
But I would love to see him get back into the team and show his class once again and then hang his boots. We do miss Sourav, don't we?