Thursday, March 25, 2010

Hot Seats...

It’s blistering hot over here in Coimbatore. It’s just the starting of summer and the heat has set in already. Coimbatore used to be known for its mild climate. But things have totally changed over the past few years. The average temperature during the day is around 38 ºC nowadays.
As students who have just entered class 12, we have got to attend special classes from 1.30 pm to 4.40 pm everyday this month. My house is a bit away from the bus stop. I’ve got to walk some 15 minutes and the heat makes me giddy. Furthermore, there is an everyday power cut from 2 to 4pm. And the fact it’s just March now…, God! Somebody please talk to the power minister to relieve us from these irksome power cuts or just suggest me a good prickly heat powder……

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Howzzat! – How’s that?

Why did I name my blog “Howzzat!”? I’m really fond of cricket but I’m fond of other things too.
I chose “Howzzat!” because it was one of the words that I was very much attracted to as a child.
An abbreviation of ‘How is/was that?’ it’s a common cricket jargon mostly used by the bowler when the batsman is caught off stumps or clean-bowled.

2009, what a year!

I’d say 2009 was a rather interesting year, better than 2008. Yes, everyone might say that the current year is better then the last one, but I’ve got my reasons for that. Most importantly, I wrote my 10th board exams this year. Hence the first three months were quite hard to go by. I don’t think I did well in the first few months of the year. For me, the end of the year is naturally the end of my academic year. To go by the rules, let me explain the events which had made some sort of impact on me from the first month.

January is one of my unluckiest months in spite the fact that my birthday falls on this month. I’d spent the entire month writing model exams and almost nothing else. I wasn’t very sincere while studying for those tests. I’d lock the door pretending that I was studying while I was actually whiling away time by listening to the radio and afterwards I had to wake up early (around 3 am) the next morning to study. Pretty stupid. Warning: Don’t adopt this technique. You’ll end up having dark circles round your eyes. My dad, a chronic renal failure patient, got mingled in the tests relating to the kidney donor and he really had a tough time obtaining a nativity certificate (he had to bribe the officers). My birthday (on 9th) wasn’t very interesting (because I’d to write physics test on that day). Just ten days later I broke a part of my front tooth out of my clumsiness, solely. Though the hole was negligibly small, I looked like a vampire. However the interesting (duh!) bits were,

  • On the 20th, Barack Obama was appointed the first black prez of the US. I admire him for his charisma and otherwise I’ve naught knowledge of his political policies. He invited our PM as his first official guest and I actually liked that.
  • On 31st, Veteran Tamil comedian Nagesh passed away. His body language was more impressive than his superb dialogue-delivery.
  • Majority of the Tamilians were angry over the Srilankan army’s blitzkrieg over innocent Tamil lives. Widespread chaos all over Tamil Nadu. Events where two men set fire to themselves caused havoc. The tension grew when the Indian cricket team went to Srilanka to play a three match ODI. Personally, it seemed to me like inviting trouble. If there was a war in Pakistan, will our players be allowed to go play there? However, we clinched it 3-0 in the end.
  • And there was the Israeli air strike over Gaza where more than 600 (I think) civilians died.
  • There was a tremendous shortage of petrol in Coimbatore. The first one I ever remember seeing.
‘Slumdog millionaire’ won four Golden globe awards- one for A.R. Rahman for best original score.I didn’t see that many movies in January but those I remember seeing were Good will hunting, Water boy, Chasing Liberty, 10 things I hate about you, Blind dating, Bound, Princess diaries (for the 3rd time), High School Musical 2, Jane Eyre (BBC book adaptation), Little Women, Enchanted, Shangai Knights andDhaam Dhoom, Ghajini, Aadhi, Gilli, Dasavatharam in Tamil.
Note: I watch every thing on TV. I hardly go to the cinemas.
As far as books are concerned, I read “The Hard way” written by Lee Child. It’s one of my favourite detective novels.

February wasn’t bad. I’d done my board practicals well though I was dead nervous. I wouldn’t quite forget the month so soon for I was caught having a profile on Facebook by my aunt who passed on her discovery to my parents via my grandparents. Thus, the whole family got to know. Well, all’s well that ends well (gee!). It was the first time I made spicy panneer curry (though my mom helped). Ok let’s get back to business.

  • Vajpayee got admitted in the hospital for chest pain.
  • IPL auction time. Shilpa Shetty got a stake in the ‘Rajasthan Royals’ and Flintoff was taken by Chennai Super Kings.
  • Hiatus in the Madras High Court where the lawyers threw stones and set fire to a police station over the Lankan issue.
  • Slumdog millionaire’ won the most Oscars with 8 wins out of 10 nominations. Though it was a Brit film, Indians were proud when A.R.Rahman won two Oscars for best original score and best song which he shares with lyricist Javed Akhtar for ‘Jai Ho’. He’d won a BAFTA award earlier.
  • The Indian cricket team lost the 20-20 series against New Zealand who beat us 2-0.
  • Zakir Hussain won a Grammy for his outstanding album on global fusion.
And that’s all I remember.I watched National Treasure – Book of Secrets, Little Miss Sunshine, FlightPlan, Volcano, Bordertown, Just like Heaven, Pursuit of Happiness, Notting Hill, School for Scoundrels and numerous Tamil movies.I read the man booker prize winning novel ‘the Gathering’ by Anne Enright, an Irish novelist. To tell the truth, my eyelids kind of drooped while reading it.

March must’ve been the toughest month for me this year. My board exams started on 18th. I hardly had time for anything else. It was entirely an unforgettable experience. But I didn’t really throw myself in and study except Physics and Chemistry where I rested my eyes only for 3 hours the previous night. My dad had an endoscopy done which revealed that my dad had liver cirrhosis as well and the doctor talked him out of kidney transplant surgery. This was a huge blow considering my dad had been battling this terrible disease for three years. I didn’t really keep track of the news because of my exams. I saw Beverly Hills Cop, Siva manusula Sakthi and Laadam. That’s all.

April was fun except for those first eight days where I’d to sit for few of the exams. The driver we hired got himself drunk and created problems for us. So we cut him off and hired a new one. I went to Karur to be with my grandparents as soon as the exams got over. I stayed there for a mere three days. I was a lot busy that summer, reading books and baby sitting my brothers. It was the IPL season too. I started a blog but I dropped it after three entries (since no one read it).
  • On the 6th of April, an earthquake rocked Italy (death toll over 50) and a bomb blast occurred in Assam due to the ULFA outfit.
  • April 14 was no more ‘Tamil new year’ whose date has been changed to January 15 (on Pongal). But we still get to celebrate it as ‘Chithirai thirunal’.
  • Over 35,000 Srilankan Tamil civilians fled the war zone to some safe place. There was a bandh called by the DMK government in support of ceasefire of the war on April.
  • On 27th, a temporary ceasefire was announced due to the pressure given by several countries. Karunanidhi, TN CM went on a supposed fast which lasted upto 11am (disrupted by the above announcement.
  • The IPL matches were shifted to South Africa due to the elections organized here. Lalit Modi, IPL manager, was both praised and criticized for this move.

I spent the month watching several movies – Shrek 3, Fast track, Escape, Juno and Ayan, Anjaathe, Polladhavan, Jeyam Kondaan. Others, I just don’t remember.I read another man-booker prize winning novel “The White Tiger” by Aravind Adiga. I read it without my mom’s knowledge (!) but being a good girl, I confessed to her later. I was wowed by the author’s attention to detail but no true Indian will love the plot of the novel. Well, criticism at times is fine but if the whole content turns out to do nothing but criticize the common Indian fellow and his ways, it is blasphemous. I mean, why in the whole world should the protagonist write to Wen Jiabao about his success (yech!) story?

I also read a play ‘Endru thaniyum indha sudhandira dhaagam?’ by Cho.Ramasamy. It had quite a funny theme - what happens if Indralogam turns a republic. I read another book in the dead famous series about Elvis Presley. Strange that I chose to read about him when I haven’t heard anything sung by him (except ‘You ain’t nothin’ but a hound dog’!) I learnt a lesson from him though– never to binge eat.

May is one of my fav months (like most others). Some of the days were downright boring but I absolutely enjoyed the holidays. I got a cool new mobile with all features on my parents’ wedding day. The reluctant swimmer in me lost the battle when my friends pushed me down the swimming pool in our apartment. Mmph! I still haven’t learnt to swim yet. I love cricket and I saw every IPL match that took place. I got totally unexpected results-92% in the boards. I was content. By the way, I’d my broken tooth fixed. So the NEWS bits were,

  • The Lok Sabha elections took place on May 13th. Polling was largely peaceful. Tamil Nadu recorded 62% turnout. On May 16, results were announced. The UPA sweeped the polls and was ready for another successful second term.
  • On May 18, LTTE chief Velupillai Prabhakaran was shot dead by the Lankan army. His death marked the end of the war but still 50,000 civilians killed! A price paid high!Manmohan Singh and most of the Cabinet ministers were sworn in on 22nd and portfolios were allotted to them on 26th.
  • The IPL-2 had a grand finale. Deccan Chargers won the trophy beating Royal Challengers Bangalore. Performances of Akon and Katrina Kaif provided a fitting end to this grand event. But the grosses of IPL season 2 were lesser than the first one. The team I was supporting, Chennai Super Kings, got busted in the semi-finals.
  • Clashes between two Punjabi rival groups in Vienna resulted in trains burning burnt here. Stalin was made the deputy CM of Tamil Nadu. He’s tipped off to be his dad’s successor. I watched Deck the Halls, Sisters Act, Maid in Manhattan, Rush hour 3, Rob-b-hood and Yaradee Nee Mohini.
The first book I read was the classic “Sivagamiyin Sabatham” by ‘Kalki’ Krishnamurthy. It consists of four volumes. Quite a masterpiece. It came out in the form of a series in the ‘Kalki’ magazine three decades ago. I absolutely adored it for its clear plot and clever characterization.I read another dead famous series book on Cleopatra. Finished it in a day. Wonder if everything said about her is true. But she was one cunning woman, that I’m sure (Don’t ask me how, I just feel it, like you know, instinct).

June’s the month I was back at school. I was quite excited at the prospect of entering higher secondary. I’d caught cold, the first one this year. I spent more time with my mobile- texting almost every other moment with my pals. My mom’s speech on National Integration in Tamil got broadcasted all over Tamil Nadu in All India Radio. It was school all the way. No festivals, no birthdays. And well, I went to Black Thunder water theme park with my family for my brother’s sake. I didn’t step into the water once.

  • A passenger jet carrying around 230 passengers disappeared near Brazil.
  • Several cases of swine flu reported in Coimbatore and TN.
  • India was ousted from the 20-20 world cup when it lost to England. Pakistan emerged champions beating Srilanka.
  • Saina Nehwal became the first Indian women to win a major badminton event – the Indonesian open.
  • Kapil Sibal’s statement over canceling 10th boards created uproars.
  • On 26th, iconic singer Michael Jackson passed away apparently from overdose of medical drugs. He was 50. I love him….

After that I just stopped writing my diary……..

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Vinaithaandi Varuvaaya – a review

Vinaithaandi Varuvaaya

I just saw the movie this morning with my gang of girls at KG BIG cinemas. Well, I didn’t spend any of my money for it as the trip to the theatre was given as a treat by my pal.
The movie evoked certain mixed feelings. I didn’t quite know whether the story was usual or unique; whether the characters were well-etched or blurred or whether the director wanted to say the tale of two lovebirds or more than just that.

And about the story…

Karthick (Simbu) falls in love with his house owner’s daughter Jessie (Trisha) at first sight. She spurns his advances warning him about the differences between them and the consequences they’ll face if they possibly marry. And of course, she doesn’t like him yet. So, what Karthick does to please her and whether their love finally succeeds, forms the rest of the movie. Well, half of the film goes by this way, where the leading lady speaks the same dialogues over and over. The film could have ended some 15 minutes before the actual end. But the director goes on and on and the film takes a sudden twist at the climax.

The actors have done justice to their part, especially the scene where they meet again at the American park. Simbu’s tears look so real. The film is undoubtedly a Musical Drama. All the songs have been shot and placed frame to frame. A.R.Rahman is a genius!! The songs have been shot at exotic places and sound so heavenly! But they slow down the already slow pace of the movie.

The film is worth a watch, once. As the movie reaches the end of the movie, you are forced to see the whole outline once again. The movie is novel in many ways though its story sounds so common. And, forgive the cliché, the treatment extended to the film is fresh.

If I were to rate it, I’ll give 6 stars out of 10…..

My 9/11 experience (minus the terror)

This might be a small and insignificant incident but it is one of my most remembered and cherished ones...

September 11, 2001 - Two days before my brother was born. We were very anxious, especially my dad. I was eight years old then. When asked whether I wanted a sister or brother, I said “a brother...yes, I’d love to have a brother. No, a sister…she can wear my old dresses then.”

We were in the hospital mostly, the same hospital where I was born, as were my cousins. My mama was sleeping mostly. She grew alien to me in those few months. Then there was dad. I was always with him. While we were in the hospital, he’d take me somewhere to eat. Once he took me to a browsing centre where he and I played “Roadrash.” I stumbled a couple of times over the garbage bin. How we laughed! Now I see my brother play the same bike game, frantically hitting the keys on his joystick.

I had zero idea how a baby comes out of the mommy’s tummy. But I had seen the many, many movies where mothers to be where in labour, screaming and shouting for a few minutes. Then suddenly the screaming stops, you hear a crying sound and see the nurse holding a baby.

Well then, we were making arrangements for the yet to be born baby. My aunt and uncle went to buy clothes for the baby – unisex ones, loads and loads. We were in need of a fan, a pedestal fan for my mom. So dad, grandpa (my mom’s dad) and I went riding the bajaj vespa scooter to buy it. My dad didn’t have a car back then. We bought a Maruti Alto soon after Hareesh was born, on September 27, I think.

Electronic store #1. We were on the lookout for the ideal fan. We were shown a very good brand. It was a little big though. We’d have bought it. But I didn’t like the colour – pale blue. It looked as though it was made for hospitals. They said there weren’t any more colours. So we went to another store.

Electronic store #2. This store was a big one. They had some fans lined up in a corner. One was a red fan of the same brand. I liked it but my dad didn’t buy it. I don’t know why maybe due to the price or something. Then my dad saw what they were showing in all the dozen TV-s there. I could see a tall building covered with smoke. A bomb blast, I thought. A crowd gathered around us. It must have been 7 pm. I asked dad, “Why daddy? What’s happening?”

“Someone bombed the twin towers”

“Twin towers? Where is it?”

America, dear”

I don’t remember seeing my grandpa’s face but he must have been shocked for he has a son (my uncle) working in the US. We stood there for few minutes and then left. I couldn’t understand why people were shocked. ‘It didn’t happen here, did it?’ I thought. By the way, we still didn’t buy the fan.

Electronic store #3. My memory is rather vague with this one. I remember boxes, boxes everywhere, lined up perfectly against the wall. We were once more shown the same brand, same colours. But what caught my eye was a green one (I love green). We bought it and it was brought to our house.

So the hunt for a pedestal fan was finally over on 11/9/01 but the hunt to end global terrorism began on the same day in the US and almost everywhere else. Since the twin tower tragedy, there has been no major terrorist attack in the US due to the stringent actions taken by the government. But the same cannot be said of our country. We have seen the worst terrorist attack on 26/11/08. It has made, by and large, India an unsafe country.

So then, Hareesh was born on 13th at 2.30 am. My half yearly exams started the same day but it was only at 1 pm. So I remember myself getting up early; got ready and went to the hospital along with my grandpa.The baby wasn’t there then. They had taken it somewhere. I was given a bag full of candies to give to the other family who was in that room (it was shared by 2 mothers). Fifteen minutes later, the baby was brought. His face was so pink, so tiny and so tender.’

My mother must have been there but I don’t remember myself asking her anything. Oh well! My brother’s grown now. He’s eight years old and watch out, he’s got a big mouth. And oh the fan! It’s still here – a bit rusty with some of the screws loose but it still does its duty and remains a faithful assistant to the ceiling fan!

Friday, March 19, 2010

My blog, my music

My first blog has to be about music. I love anything that has soul (mind you, not sole!) in it. Here is a list of my top 5 fav songs. If you are on the lookout for some pretty good songs to add to your playlist, I'm glad to give you mine...

So here goes..

1. Chris de Burgh

The lady in red

A true classic. Released in 1986 in the album "Into the light," it was the #1 in 25 countries. With his true blue voice, this Argentenian-British-Irish guy made heads turn with this song. It was rated as his career best and raked in enough money to keep him rich throughout his life time.

It's said to be based on his first wife, Diane. But once backstage, Princess Diana had complimented him mistaking the song was about her, as she was known to be fond of wearing red. Devoid of flaws, it's a simple romantic song full of rhythm.


Dancing queen.

It was the biggest hit single of ABBA. With crisp and clear lyrics, it had breath-taking vocals by Agnetha Faltskog and Anni Frid Lyngstad. It's said that Lyngstad cried while listening and said "I found the song so beautiful".

Being a fan of all the good ol' songs of the 1970's, ABBA is definitely my favourite band. It's hard to find a favourite among all the golden songs of this Swedish band.

An enticing song, it reflects the hip & happening mood of the people during that period

3. The Mamas and the Papas

California dreamin'

The band got its first hit with this song. It was released in 1965 in the album "If you can believe your eyes and ears" and was written by John and Michelle Phillips. The band had quite a few hits but was termed nowhere near the Beatles who were ruling the roost that time. It tries a genre known as "Sunshine pop." Just hear the guitar piece and you are hooked! The song is said to have encouraged many people to move into California. I really wish it were more than just 2 minutes.

4. Ace of base

The Sign

When Ace of base made its debut, they were termed as Abba-wannabes. "The Sign" was their first album. The title track was their biggest hit though another song "All that she wants" topped the US charts. Though they produced the most popular album of the 1990's, Ace of Base fizzled out fast, leaving just the memory of the monster selling album. "The Sign" is a fun, meaningful track which has a lot of life in it with sisters Linn and Jenny doing the vocals. The song is one of the best of the decade.

5. Shania Twain

You're still the one.

With her great looks and soulful voice, she has made a mark for herself. This song's in the album "Come on over" released in 1993.

Her voice blends easily with the music leaving the listeners enthralled. One can note the vibration in her voice gives a magical feeling to her songs. The tune is thoroughly hummable and it is exciting the way it is.

Those that almost made it

The cranberries: Linger

The bangles: Eternal flame

98°: I do (cherish)

Shakira: Hips don't lie

The beautiful south: Dream a little dream