Thursday, December 17, 2015


Read "Catcher in the Rye" when I was seventeen. I agreed a lot with the 'phony' accusations of Holden. Then as a teacher I read that the main character was a sociopath. Phew! I must have been one too, I thought. Then I read comments by a number of unknown readers online, who said that they identified with Holden a lot. That made me feel safe about having owned up to feeling just as he did.

It is soothing to read Holden's monologue about superficial people, who act superficially at times. Holden is a teen and when we are young as he is, we do not have the skill to look beneath the superficiality.

This is where the manipulative mentality scores over the over analytical. A manipulative person sees another human as someone who is either useful or useless. He or She admires only what useful people do.This way they over look the superficiality of people. Then they realize a truth that overly judgmental people fail to see.

The truth is, a lot of superficial acting people are hard working, caring and often just don't know how to act natural. They are not to be judged as bad just because their conversation is superficial. Of course such people are boring companions.

But just because a person's speech or writing has depth or is truthful, it doesn't mean he or she is honest, trustworthy and a harbinger of joy. People are far more complex than that.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Fantasy and Magic

Sachin Dev’s “Faith of the Nine” leads its readers into ‘Janani’ - a world created by nine Gods with a song -, and makes them live through the trials and tribulations of a civilization built by warriors, magicians and philosophers. Evil battling forces threaten to prey on them, as the nine Gods seem to have forgotten them. The nine Gods from the title may be mysterious and ephemeral, but we feel their powerful presence throughout the novel.

The novel is not the retelling of an ancient Indian epic, which places “Faith of the Nine” among the first Indian novels to create alternative reality that is convincing and vividly described

Creative metaphors and images that abound in the novel describe not just the landscape of fantasy , but thought processes as well, and amply show case the writer’s command over the language. These samples of his descriptive power are from the same page:
Fear tugged at him, an animal cornered under the glare of a thousand lit torches….
… like a muslin drape catching fire, realization dawned on him…
The rift in the realm manifested itself as a dark oozing wound…

The action in the novel is equally graphic and gripping.
“She saw Rukshar dart forwards from the side, pouncing like a hungry jaguar. Her hands were moving and the broken, jagged window frame exploded on the soldier’s head. The lightning faded and the man crumpled slowly.”

Memorable landmarks dot the terrain of Janani such as an enchanted garden with flesh eating plants, the stormy desert with rakshasas buried in its depths, the unvisited ivory tower of the wise men, along with normal looking cities bustling with activity and sleepy villages, bountifully blessed with grain.

Fateh, the warrior, one from a long line of wise commanders, Abhaya the conscientious and caring super human monk, Ishan, the divine child, adventurous and fearless, Bajah, his faithful foster mother: all of them are sketched realistically enough for readers to traverse the real world and venture into the fantastic empire of Nam and get involved into the fate of the noble and the able. Evil characters such as the soul devouring Yakshis, demonic and diversely formed Rakshasas, born in the void and monsters are etched with memorable characteristics and add considerably to the fantastic elements of the novel.

The clash between good and evil is presented in all its complexity in an alternate universe, where humans exist along with the supernatural and the demonic. “Faith of the nine” thus provides tasty fare in classy language, making it a good choice for not just fantasy aficionados, but to others who are curious to know what this genre is all about.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Madras magic and make do logic

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Madras magic mangled

With a heavy heart, I make this post on the city that has an undeniable magic of its own.
A centre for culture, a thriving, throbbing city - a happening place, a home to several disenfrachised, disoriented people who found hope here, and a means to live.
"Vandharai vazhavaikkum Chennai managaram" as its citizens proudly boast, it is a city which provides a life line to any one who chooses to ignore its sweaty heat.
On the first and second of December, this huge metropolis was drowned, after being battered by four consecutive cyclones.
A word on its citizens. People from other states label them unfriendly and conservative. People from small towns consider them rude. As someone who was brought up there, as someone who studied in excellent schools and universities of that metro, my view of the people of Chennai is as follows.
They are hardworking, practical, forward looking, fond of their traditional music and dance, energetic and always up to something or the other. The sheer pleasure I enjoyed as a child, standing at Luz Corner and watching vehicles buzz by, and noisy activity everywhere, the several dance and music classes I attended, where I stared at world class performances as something that all the people in that space did everyday, the scores of brilliant, committed teachers, who never ever screamed or cursed or acted superior to command the respect they did, the non stop discussions on every topic on earth that could be heard in public spaces, the debates children had on technology and science as they stood waiting for their school bus, the sophisticated, firm and decisive tone of the Chennai woman, the plainspoken, shrewd and skilled mechanics, plumbers and workmen of the city, are some of the unforgettable impressions that have made me what I am today.
Chennai is all about its talented and forward looking people, even if a lot of others don't get what's so great about the crowded, hot metro.
Buildings, offices with all their equipment and documents, apartments and huts, all were under water yesterday. People watched in helpless horror as their house hold equipment and vehicles bobbed along in water to eternity. Hundreds of thousands of people sat huddled together without electricity or drinking water waiting for the flood water to recede from their beds and sofas. The airport looked like a river, as did the rest of the city

I mourn the devastation caused by the floods in this city, once colonized as Madras,  and presently renamed
Chennai, the capital city of Tamil nadu.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

A Discovery - Magicorlogic?

I took an online language quiz today, ticking off right answers, writing an email and answering an innocent looking, 'tell me what you read' question at the end. I took this test on my phone, my first phone tapped test.
I also took an online test on my laptop yesterday, in which I prepared a presentation and wrote an email.
Having taken two tests on different devices opened my eyes to a weakness of mine.
I write rashly, typing away what comes to my fingers.
Not being adept at phone tap typing, and unable to fit the print into the phone frame, I scrolled slowly, carefully, not wanting to make a mistake and send a half done test by tapping some place unwittingly.
It was the newest experience of my literally old life.
The right answer for the medium-tough grammar questions had never been so clearly apparent. I had no doubts that my answers were right even after a single reading. I am now telling myself _ READ SLOWLY. God! It is so much easier to understand when we read carefully. Logical, right? The feel was magical.

Next I wrote these two paragraphs. Tap tap slow tap, slow slow alphabet by alphabet, by word, space, word......I did not have to rework on any of the sentences. It was a business mail, something I have not had much experience in writing- and I wrote it spontaneously and perfectly to my knowledge and satisfaction. I have rarely felt satisfied with what I have written all these days, till I tapped very slowly and finished writing faster than ever.
So I'm telling myself - TYPE SLOWLY- Speed typing is for mindless robots, not for creative, purposeful crafts-persons whose thoughts flow logically through magic, like yours truly.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The pen is a magic wand

I was astounded to read that content writers write from ten thousand to twenty six thousand words a day. So some of them claim. Two thousand words. That's how much I think I can write. That makes me such a laggard in writing.
I asked a friend of mine how many articles she did as a content writer everyday. She said that she and most of her colleagues wrote only one article per day. She also said that Indian writers wished to be competitive and wrote 1500 word articles as opposed to writers from richer parts of the world. These are of course, research articles. I could do what they are doing. I aim to earn money this way. I love writing and love doing research. I would be happiest doing this kind of work.
That was why I did some research on the number of words belted out by writers and now after having seen claims by writers that they can do tens of thousands of words, I think I am going to check my limits.
Happy reading to all those who stumble into my writing.
This blog contains some two hundred words and I would have taken ten minutes to write it. So I guess I can write a thousand words in an hour. Should really check this out!

Monday, November 2, 2015

Magic: unexpected

I did something different today.

I translated the Tamil poem of a man who was arrested for having written it.

A non tamil speaking judge wanted to know why the mother goddess of our state (read important minister) was so enraged by the poem as to have the dalit singer arrested.
The gist of the poem is an attack on the state's liquor sale policy
Our state has a unique distinction. Only the government can sell liquor here. You cannot bring liquor from another state into this one. And the government has chosen to open a liquor shops in almost every street. Another open secret is that the lady friends of the mother goddess manufactures all the liquor, and controls its sale
Last week a Bangladeshi publisher got killed for writing something like this. A not so publicized news is the murder of intellectuals in  India over the last one year. Sad for the poet to be caught in such a controversy.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Global magic

On it's journey around the globe, covering two hundred countries, Shakespeare's globe theatre stopped at Bangalore's Ranga Shankara for two and a half hours to present their version of Hamlet, under the direction of Dominic Dromgoole.
The production, the script, costumes, props and the acting were inspired and successful in giving the feel of Hamlet, the tragedy.
The theatre filled up quickly, and we had travelled two hours to reach there just on time, and I was worried if my seat was among the worst. Not so. We sat to the left and in the sixth or seventh row, but could see the actor's faces and hear most of the dialogues clearly.
The play's highlight was the emotive facial expression of Hamlet in the throes of a debilitating depression, Queen Gertrude's excellent enunciation, the lively energy of Laertes, the dual roles played by the actor as the murdered king, and his sinning brother, the vulnerability of Ophelia, the garrulousness of her father, and the bits of music woven into the story.
The actor playing Horatio was a woman. She probably was filling in for someone who could not play that role. She did a pretty good job, except that she smiled a lot, significantly more than a man would, especially given the gloomy circumstances.
The second half was climactic and the scenes that show the escalation of pathos were effective. When the play ended I could not get over the deep sadness that descended on me.
The props included a few old style trunks, that the actors carried around and placed strategically to indicate that they were in a boat, that they were on the shore, that someone was digging a grave, etc. Needless to say, the audience understood what the trunks stood for, through the skillful direction and acting. For instance, one actor pretended to be thrown off by the waves from her seat on a ship. Another  was pulled out from behind the trunks, as if he was in a deep pit that he had just dug.
There were of course, places where we could not get the dialogues, probably because of the oldness of the language, or because the actors were speaking fast. But in all the important scenes, the dialogues played a very small role.
A very professional and heart warming production.

Monday, September 28, 2015

No logic, no magic

Prime minister Modi was on a video, in which he spoke with anguish, and choked back his tears as he described how his mother had to do house work, washing vessels and clothes of neighbours in order to bring him up.
I am sure that his emotion is genuine.

But isn't that how more than sixty percent of Indians live? Overworked, doing menial jobs, undernourished and without basic medical and other facilities.
Shouldn't he, who has risen from the ranks feel the same way about the hundreds of thousands of women ( in the words of Modi himself) who still live exactly as his mother did, rather than just saying that of course, this is what all mothers do?
Why do all our leaders, especially the ones who know what poverty is, totally forget the downtrodden, and have nothing to offer them, or  never ever try to perfect the system so that they have access to good water, sanitation, schools and hospitals???

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The logic behind killing bloggers

Why were four bloggers from Bangladesh killed?
Why are there some others on the hit list?
It never occurred to anyone but the killers that blogging can go beyond being a personal diary, and actually be a threat to someone.

The main reason behind this is that the truth is no longer what the media offers the public.
Media wants to sell, and publishes sensational news rather than the truth, which is sometimes so gruesome (oh so...boring) that no one wants to know it.

The public does not want the truth. Why? We want the dream, and the truth is ugly, so not in vogue. No one wants to know the truth, especially about themselves. People are busy inventing lies, in things big and small. for instance, many people spend a lot of effort in showing that they are better than they are. Some others want sympathy, and pretend to be worse off than they are. While there are those who will not accept that they have aged, failed, brought up offenders and criminals, and have generally wasted their lives. The media has chosen to partner such people as they form the majority

Then there is this thing called blogging. It's free, and affordable to anyone who has access to internet. Most people don't bother about blogs. And then there are extremists, who believe their brutal violence should help them control the world around them. After having soaked himself in a violent drama and having pitted himself against governments and gangs, the terrorist happens to cast his eyes on the words of this lone weakling, the blogger, who seems to be free and uncensored.

He now believes that killing a blogger would silence voices of dissent, and does what he knows, which is to kill.
Rest in peace Niloy Neel

Saturday, September 19, 2015

The magic of the vanishing Afghans

It was early 2014.
Two men in their twenties introduced themselves as Afghan nationals, translators at a mammoth international hospital chain in the capital city. There were many patients of Afghani origin,who were being treated in these hospitals, and they helped such patients communicate with the doctors and vice versa. They wanted to improve their English.
Paid upfront.
While their English was of the passable kind, they were excellent communicators, which actually makes focussed language improvement and error correction through drills a little hard.
I was only fairly satisfied with their improvement, although we spoke a lot and worked a little bit on writing.
They spoke of their country with great love, and about how looking at the sophisticated hospitals in India shocked them, because it made them aware of how backward their country was. They lamented the fact that very little was actually being manufactured in their country, and how they imported almost everything.
They kept asking the administrator to give them ID cards so that they could satisfy the authorities about where they were. So the language centre printed student ID cards for them and gave it to them, ten days after they joined classes.

They took the ID cards, smiled and thanked us, and never returned.

The logic behind cleaning one's fridge

Neighbour - Please clean the fridge 
Maid: Why sir, do you want me to clean the fridge?
N: It's a long time since I had it cleaned.So, why do you ask?
M: No sirrrr, I work in another home in this community, and that sir asked me to clean his fridge. The very next day, he sold it on OLX...
Me: Bwahahahahahahah

Friday, September 11, 2015

Partiality defies logic

I taught English to a person of Japanese origin.
"How do you find out the caste of a person? Do people in my office do it by looking at the candidate's face or is it through the name?"
He blurted this out during one of my classes. He was in India as a representative of the Japanese company to recruit people to his Engineering company. His job was to ensure that the right standards were maintained in hiring.
His question shocked me, for I had always assumed that the corporate world operated on meritocracy. I asked him to explain himself, and he said that many talented technicians were rejected, and his team, which consisted of Indians, recruited people whom he suspected to be of their own caste.
"The name gives it away," I explained to him.

It is true that many private schools, colleges and companies hire people of their own castes, and sometimes only people of their own castes.
But the pathetic and backward state of affairs seems not to have changed with the entry of international players. Many Indians are blissfully unaware of the cruelty that underlies the comfort of their lives.
Looks like change is far away, and discrimination continues to prey the poor and downtrodden masses of this country

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

The magic of a poor man's logic

I read the "True History of the Kelly Gang"

The novel
a. is impressive, made an impact on my heart and head
b. is hard to read, as the author has used the voice of an uneducated man; so no punctuation.
c. sounds honest because the author uses the voice of a man who is plain spoken (all the reviews on the back cover, praise the voice)
d. takes a pragmatic moral tone, tells us about the morals of a man who chooses to do what he feels is right
e. shows how history recorded in newspapers can be complete lies
f. shows how the police and the law can be cruel, heartless, uncaring for the poor and can suppress and exploit the weak
g. shows how poor people have really miserable lives that they cannot get out of
h.shows how bad luck can age poor people instantly, can kill them, can destroy their families far more easily than they do the families of fat cats of other classes.
i. We don't feel sad all through the novel, because the speaker takes life and its terrors as they come, and we see the world through the eyes of a pragmatist
j. we feel the love he has for his mother, his acceptance of her faults, and his deep love for the daughter whom he never gets to see.

Monday, August 31, 2015

The logic behind maximum wages

Our women are logical beings. World over there are discussions on minimum wages. Even in India, there are plans afoot to regulate wages and leave for maids who do house work.
But in our locality, women got together for something totally different. Same topic, but with a different spirit.
While social minded citizens want to ensure that minimum wages are paid, middle class women met to ensure no one paid the maids more, and create an increase in their pay. In other words, they want to fix maximum wages. They requested everyone in the locality to pay the same so that some maids will not compare themselves with others and ask for an increased pay.
Now I am not taking a superior position here. I am not a benevolent mistress. I don't have a maid. I did try hiring one, thinking that I was providing employment to someone, and it was a good way to keep house. But the maid thought I was too soft, started coming very late, at odd hours, starting from two in the afternoon, to any time later.I would have cleaned and washed up before she came.I felt that she and her girls were laughing at me. So I realized I did not possess enough mistressing skills, and got rid of her.

I am a mere  observer from far away, of this drama, and not a qualified commentator.From what I see around  me, in spite of all the houses in our gated community being identical, the work in each of them is different. In some house there are just two people, while in some there are three generations of extended family, that plays hosts to a steady stream of relatives. Lots of activity in some, very less in others. Cooking, tea making, cooking, juice making more cooking, lots more of cleaning and washing up. Some yuppies and really old people just order in or eat out. Not much work there. Some people adore their homes, gardens and get people to clean it better than professionals. A few people like me think talking to maids and getting them to work is hard work, and let them do stuff, as they wish. Some very hard working pros may want to pay more since they want to ensure there is help around.

How can we have uniform maximum wages?

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Tragic with very little magic

Santara or Sallekhana is a practise by which people of a particular religion stop eating food when they feel death is near. They do not eat till they die. Nearly two hundred people adopt this practice in India every year.

Today I read an article, which says that the government's ban on Santara is a misunderstanding of the practice. The supporters of this kind of starving say that during this period, the one on a fast has risen above desire.

I know a tragic story about this practice. A young girl from this community excelled at school work. She started talking to her parents to permit her to study in college. Her grand mother condemned the very idea, and strongly protested against the girl going to college. She insisted that the girl should be married in her mid teens. But the girl continued to beg her parents and kept at her studies, scoring full marks in nearly all the subjects in school. Her class twelve exams were about to begin.

It is with a heavy heart that I continue this story. Ten days before the exam, the grandmother of the girl declared that she wanted to start her fast unto death. Twelve days later, on the day the girl was to write her exam in mathematics, her grandmother died. Before she started her fast, she made here son promise that the whole family would travel a thousand miles to her birthplace with her dead body and cremate it there. So off went the family with the dead body, as the school authorities fumed at the loss of one of their star pupils.

She was forgotten by everyone soon. She still is forgotten. Married of in a year, she works from four in the morning till nine at night, cooking and cleaning in a joint family and taking care of her kids whom she delivered while still in her teens. She is like millions of women in this county, not totally unhappy, leading secure, predictable lives and feeling that they have somehow missed out on something. Men in such families feel the same way too, but they enjoy a better status and think it is cool to blame the women in their lives for their situation.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Magic bubble burst

Fed my family fried poison - A Sunday staple

Travelled a long way to watch a Tamil play. So how did the bubble in the title burst?

It was an average production.....ageing actors playing teens in a historical romance

BAAAD multi colour zari costumes

below average sets

And they had attempted to recreate an epic that had coloured the collective grey cells of Tamils for over fifty years with their paltry assets

Not only were the actors old...really rough faced and with physique unsuited to heroism...they did not come to life on stage...

I persuaded my family...we paid a huge sum for tickets, spent a good six hours in pursuit of a bubble that burst ...PHLAT...on my face :(

Monday, July 6, 2015

Black Magic - Indian Style - We call it caste!!!

This post was inspired by a twenty year old Tamil film that I saw snippets of today, titled ,"Indira". It portrayed a heroine who stands up for the lower caste in spite of being beaten, mauled and humiliated. Being the feel good flick that it was, Indira brings about a change of heart among those fo the next generation. A flood punishes the upper caste tyrants.

Twenty years later, newspapers  still abound with stories of caste atrocities. Stories of discrimination that have gone unreported, unnoticed and unacknowledged are literally innumerable.

My daughter who watched the film with me said that it had potential for a sequel.

Lots of changes in the landscape and the landmarks here! But nothing much has changed for the lower castes. They are still undernourished, undeveloped and of course, as untouched as ever!

If someone wants to produce a sequel, he does not have to look far. Nothing much has changed here! 

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Waiting for magic-2

One of my smarter friends, a great doctor actually, asked me what book I was working on. Nothing, so far. Smart for once, I evaded the question by talking about an award she has won.

Today I'm going to ask one author to be to send me her script.Also going to ask one  more to get on with what she started. Then there is a blog of re invention stories that wants to become a book.
Am planning to write short stories of my own.
As usual ideas are swimming in my head.
Fantasy series for kids, animated shorts for kids again- This I guess, would make money.

Let's see.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Making magic

Starting a publishing house..with the back up of talented family members. They have talent and a little money, and me...just the belief that I can write, edit and publish palatable stories

Publishing also seems to be a good business to be in, with lots of people in my country wanting to write.

Like I was, they were probably told by their English teachers that they were awesome, bright and skilled with words. But being good at writing and actually writing something; that too something which sells....

Those are the issues this publishing is going to look into.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Logically speaking, less or more?

I write this  blog
chat with many ppl from my past, reconnecting, encouraging, laughing....all online
teach kids thousands of miles away...on a whiteboard on my screen
tap on clothes I
buy milk, curd, rice, oats, vegetables,
watch my sister's family...on skype
plan my day with my immediate family...on whatsapp
I stay at home all day, without moving my butt...not even doing the thing I love the most, which is to ride my scooter....
Not good ...says my ex-neighbour, now in Australia...on whatsapp, just before she goes to bed, as I sip my late afternoon coffee.
Is it less of life or more of it?????

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Tragic, not logic

1576 birds were killed in a hailstorm in Bangalore. More than 70 trees fell across the city.
People saw hailstones hit hundreds of birds, killing them instantly. The newspapers carried pictures of dead parrots scattered all over the floor.

They also said that parrots seated on peepal trees were saved, while those on coconut trees faced the wrath of nature with fatal results. Children have picked up the ones that managed to survive in spite of their broken wings and feet.
Crazy storm, one crazy storm

Monday, June 1, 2015

Beat this logic!

Beat this logic!!!

The flowers in my garden, the large red leaves of a  row of crotons are all mostly torn.
They are shapelessly still and don't look beautiful today.
It's the same story outside every house in our street, as well as in the parallel streets.

The sun shines sharp and bright.
So, is that it? Are the flowers wilting and drooping under his harsh glare?
No,no,no,no,no.....You must remember that that's how the sun is here in these parts. And the flowers usually dance in the wind, looking up cheerfully.
It was the hailstorm, and that was nearly twenty four hours ago: uprooting forty eight trees around Yelahanka; two in our street. It doesn't even sound logical that living things should be beaten up and torn into unsightly bits by what is usually food to them.
Glorious quantities of water, armed with ferocious winds and stones of ice rattled on man's pretentious roof tops, splintering the sturdy and the soft alike. This impartial hailstorm.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Blog logic- ????

Just logged into this blog in a confessional mode about being bored with a job and my plans to quit.

Then saw the logic defying number of people who seemed to have viewed my blog. 

How did two hundred and odd people get access to one or the other of my posts on 23rd May?

A puzzle, although with a logical answer somewhere.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Familiarity kills movie magic

I started watching a movie. Hero bunks work, takes a random train and goes to a freezing beech. Got curious, what's happening???
then you see a woman doesn't focus on her. But it's Kate Winslet. So she has to be the heroine, right?
Kinda killed the mystery, although as everyone knows she can pull off looking inconspicuous and random.
But she's not random. After Titanic and everything else she's done, she can't be inconspicuous. We know she's the heroine.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Magical part of being a moron

I watched tv after a long time: two episodes from two different series that I've never seen before. And loved them. Laughed a lot. Am I turning into a moron? Or were they good?

Now to the names of these series - Brooklyn 99 and The Goldbergs - 
For whatever reason I like them, and will continue to watch them, I think.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Each to his own logic

My sis and   another friend asked me on diff occasions if dogs were not better to roam freely on the streets?


No one is free to do what he or she or it likes. Observe the dog on the street. His area is a hundred feet. Beyond that is another dog's territory, and he will fight any dog that enters it. So a spacious home is as good as that bit of territory my dog might have won from the street.

Next question: Roam where?

Next thing for you to observe the difference between village streets and the streets where city dwellers live in. Compound walls separate dog from his best friend, man, in cities, unlike the locales in the village where people and dogs sit out together, outside their tiny homes, often eating and playing together.
Give the dog back his village or take him into your compound.


Logic...sheer logic

I found my wallet

It was not found on the road, or in the shop or at my daughter's home.
Not at the tailor's.
Not behind any furniture or kitchen appliances that i had used soon after.
It was in the safety locker where I keep a few jewels.
Locked away from the big
bad world and the crazy coot called me.

Waiting for some magic

I misplaced or lost my wallet today.
Searched through all the places I went to. It was a very eventful day.
6.00 - 7.30 - did some work on the comp
7.30 -8.00 - chatted with my school mate and her kid who were with us for a couple of days
8.00-9.00 - prepared breakfast
9.00-10.15 ate breakfast and gave my friend and her kid a send off.
10.15 - 11,oo went to the atm did some shopping and gave my daughter going away on a trip a send off.
11.00- 11.30- went back to the city to pick up a friend who had fallen off her scooter.
11,30 - 11,45 got vegetables from the shop inside our gated community

So I paid for what i got.

then I came home and prepared lunch in my elder daughter's home.

My elder daughter asked me to accompany her to the tailor. Here it gets hazy. I wonder if I had the wallet or if I had taken it to her home along with the vegetables, or if I had misplaced it somewhere of if I had dropped it on my way home.
And I haven't worked the whole day, feeling miserable...

Monday, April 27, 2015

True and magical thoughts from the 19th century

I so loved this passage I came upon from the autobiography of a musician, George F.Root.

His words ring so truly in contrast to the arm slapping style in which Indians describe their classical music, as greater than the greatest. It is undoubtedly great, that is not what I dispute. Just read his theory. I agree

How true it is that to every music lover and learner 
there is a grade of music in which he lives, so to speak — 
where he feels most at home and enjoys himself best. When 
he hears or studies music that is above that grade, if he is 
sensible he simply says : " That is above me; I am not there 
yet." If he is not sensible, he is liable to say : " There's no 
music in that." The conversation of two gentlemen at one 
of our recent Thomas concerts is a good illustration of that 
condition of things. One says: " Do you call that music? " 
The other answers: "Yes; and the best there is — it is a 
composition by Wagner." To which his friend responds: 
' Well, for my part, I think Wagner had better stick to his 
sleeping cars, and let music alone." 

People change their musical homes, or rather add to 
them, as they progress in musical appreciation. At first 
they care only for the little way-side flowers and simple 
scenery of the land of tonic, dominant and subdominant. 
They regard the musical world outside of that boundary as 
a kind of desert, entirely unfit to live in, and I may add once 
more, what has often been said in substance, that many
people remain in this musical condition all their lives. But 
those who progress, begin, by and by, to see some beauty in 
the sturdier growths and the more varied scenery, and after 
awhile realize that the still unexplored regions beyond may 
be yet more beautiful when they are reached. 

But here there is a danger. People in this state are apt 
to grow conceited, and to despise the simple conditions 
they once enjoyed. " Unworthy, narrow and bigoted " are the
proper terms to apply to such. The way-side flower has its 
place in the economy of God's creation as truly as the oak, 
and the little hill and the brooklet are as truly beautiful as 
the mountain and torrent are grand. 

" But," some one says, " there is so much trash in the 
simple music of the day." There is trash at every musical 
grade, even to the highest. How much that is grotesque 
and senseless is seen in the ambitious attempts of those who 
follow Wagner, or would rival him in new paths, but have 
nothing of his transcendent genius. Such are usually among 
the despisers of the elementary conditions through which all 
must pass, and in which a majority of the music-loving 
world must always be. "Trash" of course; so there are 
offensive plants and flowers and disagreeable scenes, but the 
proportion is small, and I contend that most of the simple 
music that lives is no more trash than Mozart's " O dolce 
concento" or "Rousseau's Dream," than which nothing is 
written that is simpler or more perfect.

Binoo's illogical world-post 2

Binoo saw the scrawny dog belonging  to Maya Aunty, Imelda, which unfailingly barked away to glory at his own dog, Jude; Jude the gentleman, the unruffled, strong limbed, handsome dog of his. Imelda jumped up to lick Binoo's nose, ignoring Jude who however, was ungallantly excited to see her, sending her innumerable signs of welcome.
"This is how you must behave when we go across your house." Binoo reasoned. Imelda was no reasonable dog.
She kept wanting to play only with Binoo and completely overlooked Jude.
Even dogs were strange in Binoo's world.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Binoo's illogical world

I am going to write a story here.
This is a real story , but I changed the names and ages of the characters.
Binoo dove into the pool. It was warm and just the right temperature, because all day the sun had shone over it.
Hey! This is the shallow side meant for kids under eight," yelled Maya aunty.
She was no kid herself What was she doing there?. "And old ladies" she added.

By the way, he was a kid. May be he was nine, but he was still a kid.
But his immediate reaction had been to slink away, while an irritating thought began to nag him. He should have at least stared at her for floating at the kid's end of the pool.

"Hey! This part of the pool is for young ladies! Away!" Now Sheela was no young lady! She was his age! But Binoo never argued, he had a problem starting  a fight.
And Sheela was giving him a funny smile, as if she was joking. He did not know what to say, and went under water for a few strokes. He continued making laps across the pool hoping that no one would notice him.
"Hey! You are actually walking aren't you?" Well....may be he was... He had just started to, not that he could not swim continuously for some time. Tchhhh...

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Rocking Logic or....Magic?

The School of Rock is one of the most heart warming films I have ever enjoyed. I like the movie all the way to the end.
We know feel good films have a predictable climax.
Yet, I liked it all along right up to the end. Sometimes I really like a film and look up the reviews they have ,and find that it has been bashed up by critics, or that it was a terrible flop. Then I would think, 'my taste is low down, I guess." But no bad review would make me think less about this film.
As there are lots of characters in every frame, there is something that one of them does that I note when I watch this film again that makes me laugh.
May be because I was teacher who took a long time to realize that teaching was about building character. I started to teach because I wanted to speak in English and no one in the small town I lived in would; except in a school. I just had fun like the teacher there selfishly does. May be that explains my love for the film.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

The logic of a sexist mind set

"Chittiya KalaiyaVe" goes the song. Listen to it. It means, "Girl with white wrists!, I'm a girl with white wrists. Take me shopping. I request you. I'm the girl with white wrists" For all the sexist and racist undertones, it;'s catchy.

It's sexist at many levels. Yes, there are women in villages and town, who depend on men to take them out shopping. They do sing such tunes in real life. Take me shopping.Get me a pink scarf. But these girls in designer wear!!!!
The sad part is that Jackie, the lead mouth piece here is not just educated and smart, but from a politically powerful, wealthy family of a neighbouring nation. She is modern, confident and winner of a beauty pageant and ambitious enough to travel thousands of miles northwards into an alien land and act in films in a foreign language.
Not just she, every woman in that video is bright, ambitious and gutsy. Most of them probably support huge families of unemployed dads, brothers, husbands and sons. Yet, for them to make their bread and butter, they should chant and gyrate to, "Take me shopping, I'm the girl with white writs."Watch the song. It's fun in its own way.

A Dog's Logic

In this man made den of ours, Zelda's instincts lead her to do strange things.She digs on the bed, piles up the sheets, pretends she has softened the hard ground and plops onto it.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Logic of lost last names

Most people of Tamilnadu do not have a second name. How did this happen? In a bid to get rid of caste identities, the leaders of the state encouraged people to shed their second names, as second names in India show what caste one belongs to. So how do we fill passport forms and other documents that ask for  a second name?
Like Malcolm X we use the initial letter of our parents' names. But we attach it to the beginning of our names. It is called our initial. For instance, I was D. Rajalakshmi, as my Dad's first and only name was Desikan.Some people use only the initial. Some people expand the initial to their father's name, while filling up forms, which means that to a westerner, it looks like your father's name is your first name.
While people create facebook accounts, they are reluctant to mention their initials. So they break their names into two parts.Since old timers like me have long names anyway, its easy. I call myself Raja Lakshmi. And those who have short names just use their names twice. (Varun Varun/ Latha Latha) and so on. When I travel to other states, I realize that although we Tamils feel awkward about having initials an single names, it was a pretty good idea to get rid of caste based surnames.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Two years ago I crossed two thousand six hundred kms to reach an unknown city. It was a movement towards a new experience. A restful period followed; I did not establish new contacts and kept up minimally as possible with what had been my community.  I was also now in the loving company of my daughter and her friends.
Away from the frenetic compulsions of my old job, I did this and that till realized that I was finally in a position to try my hand at writing: something I had always wanted to do. I got myself the wonderful companionship of a dog, stopped getting out of my house, taught online to help with bills, and started taking up textbook writing projects ( the only kind of writing assignments I seemed to be getting)Now I can even toy with the idea of giving up teaching totally. I have worked on interesting projects that seem to find their way to unambitious, non-enterprising me.

At the end of this month we are moving southward again. Two thousand kms with our puppy, who is almost a dog. Going southward as a writer. Happy!
But most importantly, for the first time in my life, I have known hours, even days of idleness. Almost beginning to relax and actually tasting fun that I have not slogged over in the first place to make it happen.
Travelling to exotic places without looking at the calendar. Spending a whole day and then another, and then countless other days without looking at a clock.

 Came face to face with a different culture; so many talented people, rich and poor; a different climate , a different environment! Grateful to Gurgaon and its multiple faces. Good bye!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Arvind Kejriwal is now Chief Minister of Delhi. So many south Indians who support the Hindutva party (although they are not seriously conscious of how backward and cruel to minorities that party is) are amazed.
Such a strong mandate!

For the muffler man!

Wake up, fellow Indians. People in Delhi did not suffer a lapse of judgement.

go facebook posts. That man resigned in 49 days. He destroyed the trust the people had placed on him.

Why would they vote for him? they raise their eyebrows in mock disbelief. Because disbelief is not what they feel. It's shock. They have yet to realize that Modi and HIndutva are jingo jangos. They are shocked that someone who roots for the common man and fights corruption can actually get such a large mandate.
What people from other parts of India do not  know is that people in Delhi enjoyed 49 days of strict governance. Auto driver and cab drivers tell us that they were never intercepted by the police on those 49 days for commissions. Make shift homes for the homeless made the streets much safer for all.They did pay very less for electricity for a month and a half. The water supply was better than ever. Lots of unregulated workers got permanent posts in the government. Just in a month and a half, they showed that governments can work too.
So they trust Kejriwal, even though he 'ran away'.
He is back, with a better team than before, I hear.

Good luck Kejriwal.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Everyday I think of things I want to blog about.

Vow to myself that I would review movies I watch and books I read.

Nothing happens when I find the time to write.I don't even remember even a bit of anything or even what that line or thought was about.

OK. I love my dog and spend a lot of time with her (That's all I can think of placing on record)

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

stupid coke ad

Sanskrit, a dead language and English, the language of the world are two of the twenty two official languages of India. On top of this there are over 1750 languages spoken in this country.

Everyone knows that there is a language known as hindi. I belong to a state in the southern part of the the country, where political parties emerged and succeeded because they opposed the imposition of Hindi.
Even today, very few people in Tamil nadu, my state, can speak in Hindi. People in the north, where several languages are spoken and where a large percentage also speak Hindi are amazed that we do not speak this dominant language
They constantly poke fun at the Tamil language. Blissfully unaware of this the Tamil state which is stereotyped as rowdy has not retaliated.

When I worked for a short period with Hindi speaking people, I got to hear all these jokes. One of their theories is that Tamils add the sound aaaa to all words. Even after I explained that this sound was a grammatical addition to frame questions like the English 'eh?" You are going eh? Tamils say you are going a?

But to no avail. They continued to say. You forgot your helmeta. You go righta. I will go lefta.

Further proof to this is provided by the latest coke ad.

Adjusta ....very irritating.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

No logic here

Enough of ancient Indian science.

"Indians always knew everything. They invented the Pythogoras theorem. There was a plane in the Ramayana."

Not only is this unscientific and embarrassing social behaviour. It also moves our focus away from Indian academics as it is today.

Are we scientific? (yes, some ancient Indians were, but are you, and you and you?)
Is there a passion for science among kids?
Are they into non corporate research? science for the sake of science?
Are they even curious?

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Logic vs Good intent

Warm coats for stray dogs to see them through very cold winter nights ! Sounds like a good idea. Not if it rains unexpectedly.

Well meaning people manage to dress up strays in T shirts and tiny coats. Who would dare to go up to a soaking wet and shivering stray after a shower and help him off his clothes? Not a mere commentator like me!!!

Give it up folks! It's a really bad idea.

I didn't take this picture. Just downloaded it because it shows an important truth. Rustics in villages
and the poor in India shower dogs with love and take good care of them.