Showing posts from 2006

Two movies and four women…'How Far Would You Go To Save The One You Love’

One of the best movies I had seen in 2005 (or was it 2004) was without doubt Perumazhakalam directed by Kamal and written by TA Razak. A wonderful movie starring Meera Jasmine, Kavya Madhavan, Mamukoya and Dileep. I saw it a while ago, so I recall only the main parts of the movie and the impressions it left. The songs were memorably done by M Jayachandran, and visually it was raining all through the movie, an effect that added to the pathos the director conveyed so effectively.

Kamal (Kamaluddin) has always made great Malayalam movies. Kakkothikkavile Appooppan Thadikal, Orkkappurathu, Gramaphone,Nammal, Meghamalhar, , Mazayettum munpe, Ulladakkam, Niram, swapnakoodu, Manjupoloru penkutti, Gazhal..the list goes on.

PMK has four characters, two women and two men. The men have very brief roles, one of them Vineeth is ‘accidentally’ killed by Dileep in Saudi Arabia, where Shariya rules apply in these cases. Which simply put, states in this case …life for a life…You get to know the brief &…

Dosa boys and the Rickshaw run.....

This came in as a comment - hopefully for a good cause and hopefully bringing good results...all the best dosa boys.....

Hi Maddy

Great blog I'm wondering if you can add a line to your blog. Or add us to your blog if possible to help us raise money for charity. Thank you very much Nick Reid Introducing‘The Dosa Boys’ What do you get if you put an English professional gambler, a Kiwi television editor and a Vietnamese physicist together in a rickshaw for three weeks in India? Well, we're about to find out… Kiwi Nick Reid, Englishman Ivan Phillips and Vietnamese born Andy Hoang have never met one another. A posting on an online noticeboard was the start of what we hope will become a beautiful friendship. The three make up 'The Dosa Boys', just one of thirty teams entered in the infamous Rickshaw Run. This Christmas holidays The Dosa Boys and their competitors will be driving a three wheeled motorized rickshaw with a top speed of 20 miles an hour. They will traverse 3000 mi…

Mammad kaka's coat

Driving down the I 15, I was starting to nod off a bit when I was surprised by MS Baburaj’s Kandam bechoru Kottane, mammadu kakkade kottane from the old hits CD playing in the car.After so many years, I was hearing that song all over again. On a dull winter day with teeming traffic crisscrossing the lanes and driving you mad, this one song has that ability to get you smiling. I listened to the words…What simple and nice lyrics, sung in the inimitable Calicut Koya dialect & tuned by the great Baburaj (the Cd cover states Baburaj- Mehaboob – Did Mehboob sing this or Baburaj? BTW this was the first Malayalam color film).

A song about an old and worn out coat, fit to be condemned, one that belonged to Fakir Mohammed Koya, and not a coat worn by blood sucking rich businessman or lawyers. The coat was always popular whilst on Koya, and ah! it is now mine ( who was this pictured on ? Adoor Bhasi or Bahadur? I tried picturing it and ended up with Bahadur since only Bahadur could have the s…

Californian musings

In the middle of settling down at our new house in Socal (South California), thanksgiving, black Friday, forest fires and the such…we did meander around South California…An insight

Temecula, the place where we live, is beyond the white specked cliffs as you drive north from San Diego to LA on the I 15 (see my previous blog….). The town that borders it on the North is Murietta and down South is just hills & desert. West of the Temecula town is the French Valley vineyards where prospectors and amateur wine hobbyists and wine pros (ala French kiss – what a great movie that was!!) vie to set up the winner farm and reap a good grape harvest to bottle it. We have never been there; it is a plan for a future weekend with nothing better to do, probably go ballooning as well. It was in Temecula that Erle Stanley Gardener decided to settle down some years ago when driving on the old 395 in 1937. Legend has it that his dog ‘Ripp’ started howling his head off and Gardener stopped to let it loos…

VK Krishna Menon (1896-1974) – An undiplomatic diplomat

It is not often that you come across people who create an impact on you, especially so if they are long gone and belonged to an era before your teens. I discovered one such person a week back. While his name is familiar to all, most today won’t know of his tremendous influence in geopolitics.

I studied in a Sainik school and one of the first things I picked up was that the whole concept of Sainik schools came from Mr VK Krishna Menon. I used to wonder about this great guy now & then, but never really bothered to figure out. Yes, conversation sometimes brought up his name, over the years, about associations of his with Jawaharlal Nehru and so on; eventually I thought it could be a good idea to dredge some stuff on this person. There was a lot of information available, but mostly polarized in support or against him. I have not read his biographies, understood his ideology or digested his famous 8-9 hour UN lecture on Kashmir, but my study will go on, for he is such a fascinating per…

What's in a name? TURKEY

I am musing over this a couple of days before thanksgiving in USA, a day when thousands of Turkeys will be killed, roasted, stuffed and eaten with gusto…

When I was working in the Middle east, I realized that Arabs called Indians ‘Hindi’, since we are people from Hindustan (India is Hindi to Arabs but then, for Indians, Hindi is a language). ‘Aye Hindi…taaal…’. was the way they would call out to get our attention..

When we moved to work at Istanbul-Turkey, I realized that India was Hindistan (mind you, Hindistan not Hindustan) for them and Indians were ‘Hintli’. But I soon found out while eating food at the canteen or in hotels that there was another word they used, this was ‘Hindi’ meaning the bird we know as Turkey. Chicken was ‘Pilic/tavuk’ and Turkey was ‘Hindi’. Hey! Now the language becomes a bird which is also a country!

So there I was, in Turkey, an Indian wondering why the Turks call what we call Turkey the bird as Hindi – what Arabs mean to be Indians and which is instead a la…

Burma Bazar - In the early 80's

It has been ages since I ventured to that corner of Chennai. At the Parry’s corner (called so since EID parry were headquartered there) in erstwhile Madras, during the early 80’s, there existed a long strip of ramshackle ‘hole in the wall’ shops where all kinds of smuggled (or more correctly (!!) stated these days as ‘grey market’ goods) were displayed and sold. The customs department had very high customs tariff’s on imported equipment and there were strict limits on what one could bring into the country and to what meager value. This promoted smuggling and the Burma bazaar catered to those who wanted that CASIO calculator or Yamaha music keyboard or a Panasonic Two in one and were willing to pay a bit more of a price..

I used to work in Madras then, right at Parry’s corner at the Bombay Mutual building. It was a great period that, with few college friends living in the nearby YMCA, I would bus down from Triplicane…great lunches at Hari Nivas…and sometimes real funny encounters & …

Bull on the run

People here complain of cattle roaming the streets of big towns and cities in India, it is quite surprising for these chaps to see us tolerate all that and then they wonder how India also produces the numerous bright minds they now work with on a daily basis..
To counter that there are these amazing stories here of women giving birth one fine day without even knowing they were pregnant...details in the linked report

But this made me guffaw...if you have been to New jersey, you will know what I mean, just imagine the police officers running after the bull for 10 hours...our 'mattukaran' should have been summoned for the situation...

BYW The bull apparently escaped from the slaughterhouse to give itself the 10 hour jaunt. No idea what happened after it got caught..

For those who want details, visit these links

This is your captain speaking....

The bone tired group comprising my wife, son, Oza (a friend & colleague who travelled with us) and me had just settled into a disturbed nap in the plane after the evening snack, when the captain’s nasal voice broke through the hazy mist of sleep enveloping us “We will shortly be landing on time at Newark, the weather is fine, slight winds….and so on…

I sat up with a jolt, the others were still in the grips of Kumbhakarana…What the bloody heck, and we were supposed to be going to Baltimore (Washington!)? Oh! I moaned, now what??

After a rough 4 days in the burning sun at Orlando’s Disneyworld, we were drained and glad to be on the next leg of our US tour, this leg a stay with my cousin sis…We were late to the Orlando airport, reaching the desk a few minutes before the flight departed. Now this was ages ago in 1989, much before 9/11 and the such happened, so things were pretty cool in US. The lady at the counter bellowed that she would send the baggage through and suggested we speed u…

Forgotten or less known singers - part 2

Bhupinder Singh

Starting as Panchamda’s (RDB) guitarist, Bhupinder ended up as a reputed Ghazal singer after a foray into movie music. And the few songs he sang with his deep sonorous voice are still remembered by all. But like they mutter, his voice was never meant for the chocolate-faced teen heroes….

Well Bhupinder sang some melodious songs like in Mausam ‘Dil doondtha hai’, Gharaonda ‘Ek Akele is sheher mein’ and Naam Ghoom jayega from Kinara…each a masterpiece..amongst a few others

His passion was ghazals and he did them so well together with his wife Mitalee singh (they met on-stage!!). I remember one of his Ghazals ‘Ahat se koi aye to lagata hein’…wonderful, mellifluous, soothing…...

Naushad once said that nobody does better than Bhupinder on a guitar…well that sure is some compliment!! Here is a very comprehensive article on him.


She came into the limelight together with Yesudas, the movie being Chitchor. ‘Tujo mere sur mein’ was a superb duet…Akhiyon ke jarokhon mein was o…

The girl and the BART

SanFrancisco is a big and vibrant city. Like most cities the airport is a far way from the city center and one uses the BART to commute. The BART, well what an acronym- bay area rapid transit system, it has always been rapid whenever I went by it. So here I was standing in front of the BART ticket machine at the San Francisco international airport around 830PM wondering how much money to put in or if I should pick up a return or a one way ticket, when I saw her.

She looked quite perplexed, a pretty face with a deep frown. Dressed in a bright orange and spotted churidar kameez, she naturally elicited a lot of looks at the buzzling airport. Most regular travelers dress inconspicuously, so this was probably an oddity. I was walking briskly to the ‘down’ escalator as the girl was virtually dragging herself along. The leather yellowish orange duffel bag, that she carried, though stylish (now that was another disparity) is not normally carried by desi’s…Most hobble around in black or dark en…

Back to the USA

The last days in England were quite hectic even for weary veteran nomads like us. The packers came to kick start the move process and were scurrying around like a bunch of rabbits. Anything outside and visible got packed with gusto for the long and arduous transatlantic voyage. Even some of the clothes and stuff to be disposed which were kept aside for the final days in UK, were boxed, much to the dismay of madam. Then there were the dinners, speeches and mementoes that finally severed the last threads connecting our life with the Queens land. We were given dire threats by the packing foreman that under no circumstances should food (even rice) get packed or that the sniffer dogs would pick up the scent at the LA ports thus delaying the container…

I will in retrospect, admit that I was looking forward to the move to the US. Somehow we felt little warmth in our stay in the UK, literally speaking of the weather and of course the people. The air was never far from pessimism all around and …
Dear friends..

When I first took up blogging in June, I wanted to reach out and talk, muse, ramble – whichever way one would choose to put it. I still want to. It was a difficult period and I was just starting a move process from one country to the other. The discussions are done with, agreements made; we are now getting ready to move, from the UK to South California in the USA.

It has been a long journey…having lived in so many places, countries, and cities. From Pallavur, a village in Palakkad to Trivandrum, Calicut, Chennai, Mumbai, Bangalore, Riyadh, Istanbul, Coral Springs (US), Stafford (UK) and now back to the USA – South California. In the middle of all those home moves, we travelled quite a bit to many countries across the globe. The journey continues, the stories will, as well.

The move and the settling down process will take a month and is considerably daunting, as any move would be. I will be up and running after we settle down in a city called Temecula which lies somewhere b…

The wandering Bullock cart

The story of a bullock cart and its incredible travel across continents

Amazing, that was what I felt when I came across this offer,

I was chuckling away after going through it, and I have to pat Suresh on the back for the idea. Well why not, we used to go ‘cart riding’ in places like Turkey (not go-carting, but in some places like Camlica –Istanbul, they have a pair of huge bulls and a colourful cart) paying big dollar. Tree houses, houseboats are all favoured these days, so why not a bullock cart ride (albeit long duration – back breaking….)?

All this took me back in time. When we were kids vacationing in Pallavur, our tiny little village in Palakkad…

There was a time when we had a bullock cart at our maternal home in Pallavur. I remember the chap who drove the cart, Eaachran, who was also our supervisor in the fields (I guess only trustworthy positions got the exalted cart driver status). The cart was not used very much though. In our times, it was parked in the shed (yes, it had its o…

Usha Uthup

On Kerala - Sometimes after a great show you are so excited and want to know how the programme was. They will just say, `kozhapam illa.' For every shilpi the most important thing is the applause. We live to listen to it. Actually if you can make it in Kerala, you can make it anywhere in the world. The most difficult people to please are in Kerala …So said Usha Utup, rightly so, in an interview….Usha Uthup has always been and will always be a favourite of mine. If you are short of optimism, see a show of hers (even a tape will suffice) to take in her 1000Watt smile and guffaws, or well, just listen to her songs.

I first heard about Usha Iyer, as she was known then, from our English teacher at school, Iyer saar. He used to tell us during the English classes, ‘Usha is my niece, and sings pop music’ And we used to imagine a girl swinging in her bell-bottoms, tight short tops (like Hare Rama hare Krishna’s Zeenat Aman – a movie for which Usha sang) blowing hair and the such. Later on, I…

Less talked about singers - Part 1

Manhar Udhas

The first time I heard Manhar was way back in College. Somebody had a record Mukesh ki Yadein and I saw that the collection in that record was superb. It had all the popular hits. After a few spins, I could make out that it was not Mukesh. Checked the cover carefully, somewhere in the corner of the LP was the statement – Sung by Manhar …That was the first time I heard one of these re-sung records…

The next I heard of Manhar was when the Abhiman EP came out – Loote Koi man ke nazar banke mera saathi – what a great song…He followed on in Qurbani with ‘Hum tumhen chaahate he’….Some more good hits followed, one I recall was the Hero song Tu meri janoo hai. I hear he is active and does Gujarati Ghazals etc these days…

Shailendra Singh

This chap just burst into the music scene with his ‘Bobby’ songs; even today ‘Mein shayar to nahin’ is a song that still enthrals the listener. But it was not to be; after a few Rishi kapoor movies and some years of struggling (and an aborted attempt…

A minute with the president

There we were (year 1998), all suited and booted, the ‘few’ Indian families in Istanbul, fidgeting amongst other dignitaries waiting at the Hilton for the grand arrival of Indian president KR Narayanan. The occasion, ‘a breakfast with KRN’, arranged by the Indian consulate in Istamboul (as the consulate rubber stamp spelt it).

Meeting the president of the most populous country ‘one to one’, can you imagine that in India or for that matter any other place? Like my wife says, ‘ezhu ayalath kadakkan sammathikkila’ (I have tried to find out where & how that usage originated,, never figured it out – why seven neighbourhoods – so if anybody knows, please…)

Well, he made his grand arrival, accompanied by a number of ‘secret service’ chaps with microphones in the lapel and all that…his ADC (we were always told in our School days at Kazhakootam - that the ADC position is one we must aspire – President’s ADC) dressed smartly and standing next to him in the picture – Shoba, me and Arun. Our el…

Three movies

Four movies marked the long weekend that passed by. In fact the first ‘Lord of war’ was superb. The second ‘Along came a spider’ was decent. The third, Balram vs Tharadas, well, the less said about it the better. Oh! and the fourth, a Tamil one, pretty good actually from K Bhagyaraj called 'Paarijatham'.

And then my son pointed out that our 'Fannaa' DVD had Malayalam subtitles. It was a riot watching the songs. Just imagine the words of the song ‘Chand Siparish….’ translated in Malayalam!!!

Lord of war – Ah! what a movie, with Nicholas Cage the protagonist flashing back on his life as an arms trader. Wikipedia has a wonderful review of the whole movie here so I wont get into too many details.

The movie actually starts with an amnesty international spoof ad for the AK47 on a shopping channel. Like they sell watches and stuff, it is truly hilarious.

On the whole, it was a brilliant movie. The opening lines go like this "There are over 550 million firearms in worldwide c…