Monday, December 22, 2003
Your heart is where your roots are. You can do many things in this wonderful happening city of Chennai forever feeling great about living here.
You can take a pleasure drive down ECR to Mayaajaal/MGM and have a fun time for a complete day watching movies, playing games, enjoying fun rides, bowling and simply stretching out. The FM Radio Jockeys will keep you entertained all through your drive. The FM stations are now an inseparable throb of the Chennai pulse. You can go over to the Sathyam Cineplex and watch one of the movies, though I wont add anything about tickets here. Chennai is cinema crazy and we love this madness that runs in the cityís blood. You can drive down to the open air theatre - Prarthana on Old Mahaps road for a late evening show. You can spend an evening window shopping at Spencers, hang around watching some road shows or movie shooting, ride on Mount Road & then walk down to Higginbothams to read some books, and buy some if you may.
You can pay a visit to Sankara Hall on TTK Road or one of the Music World outlets and simply watch the crowd and enjoy some music for free. Well, you can also pick up some good CDs for hearing. You can attend the carnatic music concerts, dance programmes and drama shows at one of Chennaiís Sabhas after a stressed day at office. What can be more de-stressing than soothing soulful music or one of those comical theatre shows. If you are amongst those who like attending spiritual discourses and Satsangs, Chennai has loads of that as well. We love to preach, donít we.
You can drive down to the Marina beach and keep watching the receeding waves endlessly, admiring the faraway ships that have captured our imagination since childhood & patronizing the boy who sells the Thengai-Maangaai-Pattaani Sundal. You can choose to visit one of the oldest temples in the city like the Parthasarathy temple at Triplicane or the Kapaleeshwarar temple at Mylapore which would take up a complete evening owing to their size and details and not to forget the tasty Prasadams.
You can dine out at so many places in Chennai, you get good food and a pleasant ambience that compliments it. Chennaiís Idlis and Pongals are an all-time favorite, with Tandoori Pizzas and Barista Coffees fast catching up. The newer hangouts - coffee pubs, fast food joints and ice cream parlours that have mushroomed in and around the city are a rage with todayís Chennaites. The food outlets come in all sizes and packages that suit our purses and tastes. You can rise early in the morning and jog along with the birds at a nearby park enjoying the artistic kolams drawn by our creative Chennai ladies on the well washed earth in front of their homes. The smell of the freshly watered earth is the smell of home. Chennai is where home is.
You can go shop at zones like Globus, Pondy Bazaar, T.Nagar, Cisons, Alsa Mall, Egmore, Adyar, Shoppers Stops, Parrys Corner, Burma Bazaar, Richie Street and so many more crowded and lighted-up places. Panagal Park by the night looks like a Chennai version of the Times Square with all the crowd and the tastefully lighted up colorful shops. You can visit your relatives, simply gate crash, invade their kitchen, you can be very sure that they dont mind. No guarantees here.
And just when you start feeling that the enthusiasm is wearing out, pop comes some festival round the corner reviving the spirits of Chennai and its people and sprinting them back into celebration.
Chennai Celebrates Life. And as ever, its hot !
Posted by Bharani - 07:49 pm -
Saturday, December 20, 2003
I never thought breathing can be such a pleasure. I see what I have been ignoring all the while. I was doing it all along, never realising the potent joy and depth in it. I know I still have miles to go, but I have started and its a journey well begun. Peace.
Simple steps with magnitudinal effects
Simple rules for diminishing defects
Simple ways towards reducing strife
Simple days for a hormonious life.
Posted by Bharani - 09:11 pm -
Thursday, December 18, 2003
All through this week, I was reading Harry Potter & the Chamber of Secrets in the mornings and Michael Crichton's Sphere in the evenings. Those who have read both know this time travel fundas in both of them. In Sphere, its scientific fiction and is made to sound technical. In Harry Potter, its fantasy and is made to appear magical.
Harry Potter enters into the memory of Voldemort through his diary to walk invisibly through what had happened fifty years back. And Harry Adams in Sphere (phew, catch the coincidence in the first names!) enters the Sphere which has been made a few hundred years ahead of time. Both equally probable or improbable propositions. Just because there is a scientific bent to fiction, it doesn't make it real. Its still fiction remember!
Miracles and fantasises are as probable as scientific breakthroughs are. In fact, scientific inventions/discoveries are miracles in themselves, aint they.
Btw, I also read The Andromeda Strain. It was ok types - in comparison to Sphere.
Posted by Bharani - 06:53 pm -
Friday, December 12, 2003
Blogging took a back seat all this week. But I am impelled to blog about my first tryst with Harry Potter - The Order of the Phoenix, the book that I read over this week. Yeah, I know you guys are laughing, so just go ahead doing that!
JK Rowling's Harry Potter kindled in me the feeling that I experienced when I read Lewis Caroll's Alice In WonderLand for the first time in middle school. Its one of the best books I have read to date. Harry Potter's magic world was nothing different from Alice's wonder land. There was a trace of Enid Blyton too in Ron, Harry and Harmoine's days at the Hogwarts fighting the bad guy Malfoy, sneaking out of school, fun in the common rooms and the Christmas dance.
We have grown up with fantasies imbibed from such fairy tales. Thats what makes reliving those feelings very special. I have watched Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone as a movie. I found the movie very kiddish. But as always, books make better reading than viewing. I started the book with a cynical attitude but have ended up dedicating a post to it on my blog!
Books give our individual minds the room to imagine the scenes the way we want it. Consequently, we are thrilled. The mind's maze guides us through the pages of the book better than a movie camera, making the experience almost real, and at times surreal, but candidly enjoyable always.
Posted by Bharani - 09:02 am -
Thursday, December 11, 2003
Har Gadi Badhal Rahi Hai Roop Zindagi
Chaaon Hai Kabhi Kabhi Hai Dhoop Zindagi
Har Pal Yahaan Dil Bhar Jiyo
Jo Hai Samaa Kal Ho Na Ho ...
Posted by Bharani - 06:59 am -
Sunday, December 07, 2003
Kal Ho Na Ho - A melodramatic, typical Karan Johar drama with the usual works - romance, engagement rituals, handful of marriage songs, disco, a pinch of patriotism, well timed comedy, a flashback, foreign locales (NY this time), motherly sentiments and lots of sobs !
There was Shah Rukh in his usual sweet happy-go-lucky role playing the usual Hindi film logic - the entry/charisma/ideas of one person changing the lives of a dull family - a repeated but proven logic. Shah Rukh has the usual teary-eyed, quivering lips emotions and the usual dance numbers. Well, everything was As Usual ! And for those who are not yet bored with Shah Rukh's stereotyped roles and histrionics, this is a definite treat. For others, Saif Ali is good entertainment.
All the characters had enough room to sob their eyes out, evoking no sympathy whatsover from the audience (except for some girls next to me, who kept saying 'so-cute', 'how-sweet' every second minute), but driving them to sheer frustration as to when the movie would conclude. The movie could have easily been shortened by half an hour.
Btw, Maayajaal is a very good weekend hangout if you ignore the exhorbitant entry fee. Six theatres playing the latest movies, bowling alley, games arcade, tasty food from Arusuvai, pleasing drive to and fro on East Coast Road & radio FM made it a nice Saturday for us.
Posted by Bharani - 06:22 pm -
Friday, December 05, 2003
Authoring a novel is a difficult task. Authoring a novel that can make the reader visualise the narration effectively and make him/her feel like he's watching a science fiction movie is next to difficult. Thats exactly how I felt when I read Michael Crichton's 'Prey'. Crichton should have been a movie-maker. Heck, no then we wouldn't have such wonderful books. I was simply stunned at the sequence where the hoard of nano-particles arrange themselves outside the car window to reflect Mae's face. How can someone write that so well that you feel you are watching a movie ? Only a brilliant author can make a visual out of mere words. No wonder Jurassic Park, Lost World, Sphere were made into movies. In fact, I heard Sphere makes more splendid reading than viewing. I borrowed The 13th warrior from the library yesterday. Yeah, I am a newly turned Crichton fan. I was a Robin Cook fan before :).
Posted by Bharani - 06:16 pm -
Wednesday, December 03, 2003
buzz has started in Chennai with the focus having shifted from the Diwali Blockbusters to December Kutcherys
. The December Kutcheri Season
is now spread over nearly a month from the original fortnight that it used to be. This attraction unique to Chennai is looked forward to by seasoned performers, upcoming musicians and dancers, music critics, inquisitive NRI listeners and music lovers. An added attraction in the past few years has been the catering facilities at the prestigious sabhas
I have always felt that it would be nice if the musician can announce the Raaga/Thaala/Composer
at the end of each piece. This would help people like me who often break their heads over identifying the not-so-very-common raagas and turn to the internet the next day to figure it out. In a NithyaShree kutcheri
some four years back, she rendered a krithi
set to a rare raaga
and the audience couldn't identify the raaga
. At the end of the krithi,
she announced the raaga
- I dont recollect the name of that raaga - it was some variation of ReethiGowlai
. Well, there should not be these handouts at the start of the kutchery
as that destroys the suspense of what the next song would be. It almost tempts us to evaluate the performance even before it commences.
A complete calendar of the Sabha Schedules
is available online for prior planning. I am sure most people agree with me that live carnatic concerts are more fun than music from those high wattage Sony speakers with the 'Hall' or 'Theater' effects on. Am planning to attend the concerts of Aruna Sayeeram and Neyveli Santhanagopalan at the Music Academy this season. Lets see if work permits me to do so.
Posted by Bharani - 12:06 pm -
Tuesday, December 02, 2003
My experiments with colors / Outsourcing Article
A whole suite of Color Picker freeware available at Canada Graphics
. You can mix and match colors and have the Color Picker generate the Hex codes for them. Cool. A serene blue would soon be the color theme of my weblog.
An impelling article at outsourcing-asia.com
on how India as a country has developed a brand
in outsourcing. A must read.
Posted by Bharani - 02:55 pm -
Monday, December 01, 2003
An evening with Pujya Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Sound when stretched is Music
Movement when stretched is Dance
Mind when stretched is Meditation
Life when stretched is Celebration
These are words of Sri Sri Ravishankar, a spiritual leader who was in Chennai, addressing a large crowd at the Anna varsity grounds yesterday evening. The ever-similing, simplistic, white-flowing-robe clad Ravishankar answered people's doubts in spiritualism, delivered a short speech and frenzied the satsang (communion) with mellifluous bhajans. He was also steering the crowd towards adopting the Art of Living course which aims at bringing back human values and contributing to world peace by realising the peace within.
The meditation session was amazing. The word chosen for meditation was the Sanskrit word - 'Ram'. 'Ram' comprises of two syllables - 'Ra' + 'M'. 'Ra' is the Sanskrit root from which the English word 'Radiance' has evolved. 'M' in Sanskrit refers to the Self and is the root for the English 'Me'. 'Ram' symbolises 'Radiance within Me', making the word ideal for deep contemplation. At the end of the session, when I opened my eyes, I estimated that the session would have lasted for 5 to 7 minutes. But no, a whole 20 minutes had gone by. Relativity, I realised.
When someone asked him as to who is the person within the mind who impels the actions that we perform, he wisely answered - 'find out who made you ask this question'. He opined that - 'sometimes its better not to answer some questions'. There are things which each person needs to find out for himself. His answers were interspersed with irony, wit and wise humour. He said Mukthi was analogous to the feeling that a child experiences at the completion of exams.
He preaches the power of love and compassion, which was avidly seen when 6 men, erstwhile militants at the Kashmir border and subsequently transformed by the Art of Living course, were at the gathering yesterday to testify what the course has done to their lives.
The spirit of humanhood, transcending the trifle barriers of race, caste and language was visible right in front of our eyes when Ravishankar encouraged the enthusiastic Chinese/Japanese audience to sing a bhajan in their native tongue. The happiness and serenity that his face and attitude radiated were contagious, making me smile beside myself.
As one of his disciples chose to put it, Sri Sri Ravishankar has the wisdom of Gauthama Budhdha, the compassion of Jesus Christ, the dynamism of Swami Vivekanandha and the mischief of Lord Krishna. It was a beautiful evening spent in satsang. The open skies, the relaxing meditation and the soulful music had indisputably created magic in the air.
Posted by Bharani - 10:20 am -