The Bold King, The Wise Minister And The Evil Citizens – Short fiction


The Bold King, The Wise Minister And The Evil Citizens.

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The king was bored, truly bored. He had, ever since he had clawed his bloody way over to the throne subduing all internal opposition and dissent had true peace for once as he had also subdued almost all the neighboring countries under his rule. Just sheer gossip that he was amassing an army to invade often forced the neighboring countries to surrender immediately and offer up tribute to stave off the invasion. For they knew all about him and his barbarian ways and knew they could expect no pity from this man who had risen up from the dregs of society by his sheer bloodthirsty ways to become a warlord who ruled over all the lands with fear as his main weapon, lands which had once despised his kind but forced to now kowtow to him. And like all uneducated barbarians who rose to be kings by the power of their bloodthirsty swords this king too depended on the advice of a learned minister to take care of the day to day ruling of the empire the details of which bored him immensely. As long as the palace coffers were full and as long as there were enemies who could be beheaded, hung or burned alive the king did not bother to think about anything else. The minister, the kings right hand man as it were, was like all educated men forced to serve barbarian’s to survive, secretly hated and despised the king for his bloodthirsty attitude and was merely waiting for the chance which one day, the minister often assured himself, the barbarians idiocy would offer him on a platter, a chance to destroy and replace the king on the throne where the educated minister was sure he could perform better. And his chance came that day.

The king as we said was bored, and being bored wanted to be amused. He called his minister and asked “tell me minister is the country happy? Are the people happy?” to which the crafty minister replied “of course your kingship, the country is happy and the people, they are very happy”. The king frowned for of course this was not the answer he had expected to hear so he asked the minister “but why?”. The minister hesitated a moment to ponder whether this was a trick question before answering “well, because the nation is at peace, we have no enemies. The people are all prosperous and rich and that makes them happy”. The king thought this over and asked in a puzzled tone “the people are rich? The people of this country?” and the minister began to fear the tone of the king in the conversation and hurriedly said “yes your kingship, we have conquered all the surrounding lands and there is peace and prosperity everywhere. At last all our people are free to work hard, make money and grow rich”. The king went on to ask “but what about taxes? Don’t they pay taxes? How can they be rich then?” the minister now understanding the way the kings mind was working went on to say “of course your kingship the people are paying all the taxes we have thought up. But what to do, these people, these peasants, are hardworking, sincere and very industrious. The more we tax them and take away their money the more these people work day and night to save money”. But the king was still not satisfied “but how can they be rich? That means that we are not taxing enough if they have money enough to be rich even after paying taxes”.

The crafty minister smiled at this and said “but your kingship, you forget one thing, these cunning peasants never tell us how much they earn in truth for us to tax properly. It’s all about parallel economy and black money with those beggars. They never tell the truth of their incomes and earnings to our sincere soldiers who go for tax collections daily. If a potter sells ten pots a day he pays tax on nine pots only and saves the money he makes on the last pot for the day he falls ill and cannot make a single pot. Similarly that old woman who sells idlis for a living says she had sold fifty idlis a day when in fact she sells sixty, hoping to save that money for a rainy day when she cannot stand in the rains and sell any idlis because the customers avoid coming out in the rains. These people are all cheats your kingship, they are selfish and avaricious and they lie boldly to the hard working tax collectors about how much they have saved for calamities like rainy days or sickness or any family emergencies. Almost all these peasants and farmers have stacks of coins-one annas and two annas- tied up in old bed sheets under their beds. That’s how rich they are.”

The king was incensed on hearing this “they are rich, are they? How dare they be rich? How can they be rich in a country where I rule? Don’t they know that I despise money? I never had any money yet I became king through my talents. I want to punish them – punish them all severely minister. Shall we hang them all in the market place for hoarding black money?” The minister at last had the chance he had been waiting years for, the chance to get rid of this barbarian king once and for all. In a slow whisper he went on to say “I have a better idea my king. These people with their one anna and two anna coins think they are rich. Even if you hang them they will die happy thinking that they die rich. The only way to properly punish them is to make them poor. Make them beggars again. Show them that even hard work and industry is not enough to make someone rich in our country. Show them that if they are born poor they can only die poor and never better themselves. Make them despair of ever improving their lives” The king was pleased with this advice as it was what he believed in wholeheartedly “How? How? Tell me minister, how to make the whole country poor, so I can be the only rich man in this country?” The minister with a significant look at the king said “my lord, people think they are rich because they have money in their hands- so break their confidence on money itself. Just declare that all money today onwards is worthless and you can beggar the whole country in minutes. Then you and only you will be a rich man my king, while everyone else will be left holding worthless pieces of metals, those beggars.”

And the king who did not have the benefit of a proper education and never learned the concept of thinking things through which is the benefit of a proper education, by a single decree declared all money worthless and beggared his nation and people at one stroke. And the aftermath of this act was filled with tragedy and pathos and many deaths which is a tale to be told on another day.

On How I Got Old And Got Religion


On How I Got Old And Got Religion

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On my good days i am an agnostic and on my bad days i am an atheist.  Which simply means that most days i am too busy to think much about god and his various malfeasances on my life. Its on those rare days when i have absolutely nothing to do- like days when i am on Sunday duty (on 24 hours duty from Sunday morning to Monday morning) or on jail duty (when i sit inside the prison hospital all day/all alone, waiting to treat the occasional prisoner with a real illness) that i get to think about my lot in life and the role belief in divinity plays in it. Such deep and uninterrupted thinking mostly makes me uncomfortable- as a man of science the more i think about it logically, the more the inherent pattern of the universe reveals itself as orderly evolution and not dependant on the whims and fancies of any single divine entity. Ok, to stop beating around the bush- science and all my scientific temper tell me a creator is not needed as the universe can exist by itself famously and we need look for no further mysterious entities to explain the order and beauty all around us. But and this is a slowly evolving but, except in those rare periods when i allow my brain to over-rule my gut, mostly my gut makes me automatically genuflect to every little roadside deity that i pass by on my commute as in a “What if? Anyway, its not gonna hurt is it? Showing a little respect on the off-chance that god really exists?”

And i find i am doing it more and more nowadays, worshipping god- whom i don’t believe in half the time, reading and researching books about hinduism – the religion i was born in and publicly defending hinduism against various assaults by other unbelievers and intensely religious people of other religions. Which last point is the crux of this post {there, there, i finally got around to it after beating so long around the bush}. Anyway our religion is mostly what we are born with- at least in India. If you are born a hindu , 99% of the time you die a hindu. Its the very rare person who converts into a different religion and not because of any lack of effort from the votaries of other religions.  Its because hinduism is the easiest of religions to follow- it has no single god you need to worship, it has no fixed set of timings or days you need to worship- you can pray as little or as much as you want. You can go for years together without thinking about god and suddenly get religious and start worshipping every calendar or wall poster with a goddess picture on it. There are no strict rules or rituals to follow (if you disregard the brahmin priests who keep trying to thrust their version of an aryanised/sanskritized form of hinduism on others) and you can worship whichever way you want and whichever deity you want. Freedom to worship or freedom not to worship- both are the essence of hinduism. That kind of incredible choice you don’t get in other religions.

Most hindus i know are atheists except on feast days when they adopt religiosity mainly for the sweets served as part of the celebrations. I was like that too- until i recently became fed up of all the proselytizing going on around me trying to convert me. I belong to the hindu religion so i have every right to question the questionable practices of hinduism- like the barbaric practice of sacrificing animals to gods, or the pseudo-sanctity of the priestly class who insist that they alone are eligible to approach the sanctum sanctorum inside temples or otherwise the deity will get polluted and things like those. I can and will raise my voice loudly against such insane acts and self serving beliefs in the name of rote rituals which merely serve to alienate the majority of hindus away from hinduism. But that doesn’t mean i will convert away from hinduism into christianity. No sir, no way. There is no chance of it- when it comes to being stubborn and digging my legs in immovably- a donkey can pick up pointers from me.

Just because i criticize hinduism doesn’t mean i am ripe to be converted into a christian. And i observe that every single time i criticise hinduism or raise my voice against whatever is wrong in hinduism immediately i am flooded with dozens of messages from well meaning christian friends wanting me to understand the superiority of christianity and trying to save me from my sin of being born a hindu. I got nothing against jesus christ, but when a man is questioning the very basis of religion does it make sense to try and preach to him the superiority of our own religion in contrast to his inferior one? Why the average christian is so desperate to convert others is something i fail to understand. Does the conversion of one pour soul- me- an out and out sinner going to make any difference to the kingdom of christ? Does jesus wants me so bad? If so wouldn’t he appear to me directly like he did to saul? To try and save me from any further sins? Or better yet, why didn’t he make me be born directly into a christian family so i could have been a christian from birth? Instead of taking this roundabout way to salvage my soul by converting me in this ripe old age when i already have one foot in the grave.

Whenever i publicly and loudly criticise those charlatans who are giving hinduism a bad name- people like jaggi and sri sri my christian friends immediately join in the chorus to talk about these false priests as the very idiom of the devil but when i also raise the names of dinakaran or sadhu solomon or mohan lazarus they clam up and go defensive. Why? For a fraud is a fraud in all religions. And those who use the name of god to make a fast buck must be called out regardless of whatever religion they profess. Why this double standard is what i fail to get.

Anyhow all this preaching to the wrong choir has at least got me thinking about religion and god and hinduism. I am reading more books on hinduism and trying to learn more stuff to understand why it is the way it is. My understanding of hinduism and religion in general is expanding the more people try aggressively to convert me.  I am trying to read up on all the different streams of hindu thought –advaita/dvaita and all those hard to understand stuff i used to skip during my younger days. I am trying to understand the paths of saints who suddenly discovered god and turned religious. In the recent few months i have turned more religious than i ever was in my younger days- thus perfectly embodying the old adage “you get religion as you grow older”.

And i think i will stay an hindu for the rest of my life- not the rabid hindu fundamentalist type of hindu- but a more gentler philosophical type of hindu- someone who gets that religion is just a different pathway to morality. Something i wish that all my proselytizing friends who wish to convert me will also understand and which will make them better persons in their own religions. Jai Hind.

Mis-Steps…My Boringly Long Journey In Trying To Learn New Things For The Wrong Reasons.


Mis-Steps…My Boringly Long Journey In Trying To Learn New Things For The Wrong Reasons.

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[Post dedicated to fellow blogger Megha who gave me this blog prompt and made me write about long suppressed memories…so dear readers, both praises and curses (the most probable when you get to the end of this post) go to her account].

My very first memories of attending dance class (classical dance)- the earliest scars on my still tender psyche, one might term them- were when I was around 7 or 8 when a dance teacher, called colloquially as a natuvannar used to come home to teach dance to my sister and I was press-ganged into joining the class because my sister insisted on having company. My mother who was a big fan of actor kamalhasan in those day, was under the mistaken impression that an early start to my dance career would endow me with enough skills to reprise the salangai oli kamalhasan role in later life. Although unsuspectingly forced into learning the classical dance form bharatnatyam, I nevertheless stuck on with it for almost two and some years learning to not only pretend-dance to jathis and varanams but also giving rise to talk at home (to my absolute horror and nightmares) of an individual arangetram soon enough. But of course like all good things which come to and end, we moved houses away from the locality and with that all talk of my continuing my classical dance career were dropped from the family round-table discussion. After all these years the abiding memories I have of learning bharatanatyam are the sharp and painful taps on the toes by the jathi-kattiay (two sticks played on a wooden board) which the nattuvanar used to beat time to keep with the rhythm of my dance movements. The rest are lost to memory.

After a long period of staying away from dance, I finally had to return to dance school during my college undergraduate days as I wanted to escape college by attending any and every cultural programs hosted by other colleges. The easiest way to do this was to join the dance troupe, stand in the last line and just wave my hands and stamp my feet. Or so I thought. But the humiliation of being trounced again and again in successive cultural s and the deep seated feeling that I was making a foll of myself in font of crowds of screaming girls (almost all of them more good looking than the girls at my college) made me opt to learn western dance forms this time on. I went and enrolled in the neighborhood dance school signing on for hip-hop classes which were the in-thing during those years. For those not in the know this was in the middle 2000’s when western dance or any dance at all had not yet taken off in everyday popularity like they did later on due to manada mayilada and all those TV dance programs with fat price purses. Those learning western dance in those days ( I specifically exclude Tamil film dance as done by Kala master and troupe which I will talk about later on) were a sort of elite bunch segregated into different schools. I joined swingers run by prasanna master and very soon I was be-bopping like there was no tomorrow. And as a sidelight we ( I include myself only marginally in this broad we as it was mostly my dance school mates) often used to get into fights with a neighboring dance school boys- the famous JB troupe- John Brittos class. If you have seen any of jackie chans old kung fu movies you will have a fair idea of the dance school rivalries and consequent street fighting between students of different schools. Worse, I had a couple of close friends who had opted to join JB but as I was a swingers boy we had no option but to meet on the battlefield to defend our dance schools reputations. Of course both prassana master and britto master must have known what we boys were up to from time to time but they preferred to turn a blind eye to our youthful spirits. I suppose I showed a little bit of talent in hip hop for I was invited to join a professional troupe of hip hop artistes and even went on a few shows with them. But again studies called and I had to abandon hip hop to sit and study for my undergraduate degree.

After finishing college, and getting into a reasonably well paying job the dancing bug again bit me and this time I opted to learn a dance form which suited my age- Latin- salsa, meringue, bachata, cha-cha and all those smooth moves. In those days the only school which taught these dances was the academy of modern dance at cathedral road run by kokila ma’am (who to my constant surprise every time I run into her somewhere- still looks exactly the same as she did when I was a young kid learning from her)- a bit of a long commute for me right across the city. But hey when you want to learn from the best distance is just a minor irritant right? Besides the primary attraction of learning these were they weren’t done in a group but as couples only moves. I thought it would be a good way to meet some single girls and start dating them in addition to dancing and I did do double duty- which experiences I will share later on but let me finish about the dance first. The thing about Latin dances are that you not only have to move gracefully and smooth (with a lot of hip thrusts) but also need to constantly make sure that you are in sync with your partners timings as otherwise both of you will end up looking clumsy and foolish and staring at different directions for the same movement. So a prime requisite for any Latin dance is a partner who moves with the same rhythm as you do. And in this I was tremendously lucky. More by luck than by design , as we were constantly switching partners and trying to find the right one to suit us, I happened to run into a girl who was pissed off by being rejected by another accomplished dancer who had judged her as not good enough to partner him. She wanted to prove a point to him and luckily our rhythms coincided and we hit it off as a pair. Pretty soon we were inseparable on the dance floor as we could both fluidly move as one without a single misstep. It was all hunky dory and going well until I made a mistake (typically) by enmeshing my personal and dance lives together my dating my dance partner. Suffice to say that it was a complete disaster and prompted my disappearing from the dance class to save myself from a irritating and persistent stalker who was immature enough not to take a no for a no. Lips sealed.

So after all these years whenever I see a dance competition on TV or hear a bit of peppy music automatically my knees start wriggling by themselves but thats the extent of my let loose and dance like nobody is watching feeling. I always rein myself in, smile wryly at myself and get on with everyday life. Those days are far behind me now and I can only look back fondly on them in my dotage.

p.s. I did try out Kala master’s kalanjali natya school once- to try and learn our local tamil filmi style dubbakanthu style of dancing- I lasted exactly one week there (although I had paid one months fees in advance) – before I realised that my taste in dancing didn’t run into kuthu and savu molam ishtlye. I have never repeated that experiment again.

The Seduction Of Anonymity


The Seduction Of Anonymity

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Its been a month or so since I turned my blog to the dark side, made it by subscription only and since no one has yet subscribed to read my blog, in essence it means that I am for the first time since I started my blog writing for myself with moi constituting the only reader with access to my inner most thoughts. Now writing for oneself and reading it alone has made profound changes in my writing style- I no longer have to worry about being politically correct or follow society’s conventions any way or in any issue. I can be myself- this great gift of expressing myself freely has only come about because of the anonymity of my blog. This takes me right back to the earliest days of my writing when I used to maintain a diary/journal where I used to scribble all my thoughts with the certainty that no one will ever get to read it except me (or maybe my sister if she was spying on me to complain to my parents).

Anyway I no loner have to worry about stalkers getting their vicarious pleasures in reading about my amorous adventures or exes with an Axe to grind following my blog religiously in the hope of learning who my current flame is or just the generally jealous and bitter blog readers who can’t help but hate me for living the kind of life they can only fantasize about. Now I can be myself and chronicle all my adventures and misadventures with nary a thought of how they might be twisted and used against me in the future. This is a great gift, isn’t it? The kind of peace which comes from using the blog as a confessional in the conviction that any confidences will be strictly maintained?

I can also crib about my colleagues and confess about my OCD to personally diagnose each and every patient that comes into the hospital in the (mistaken???) belief that my colleagues do diagnosis rather perfunctorily and if I don’t check their patients too, they might miss catching something life threatening in the earliest (and treatable) stages itself. I wont have to divide my attention between sitting at my table and listening to my patients while on the same time sneaking a look at nearby tables where other patients are being disposed off hastily like on a conveyor belt. The fact that I can actually disclose this here-my obsession with not missing a single suspicious disease – is a tribute to the anonymity of my blog which alone has made me confess my OCD. But in my defence i am only doing this to make sure that the poor and illiterate patients who come to the government hospital get the same kind of attention that private hospitals patients do- even if i have to check and re-check every single one of the patients all by myself -all day

I can also use the gift of anonymity to confess to having crushes on several of my lady friends. Although in polite society i pretend to be just friends and not interested in anything  more, i wont deny that in certain deep dark times of my life- late nights for instance, i cant help but fantasize how it would be to be married to this girl or that, how life would be if we were more than friends and how it would feel to be married to a friend/best friend rather than a complete stranger. I know that practically i wont be able to do anything about it, not even sure that it will work even if really happened but hey what the hell, cant a guy even dream in anonymity about his friends who are girls? Even if in real life i just end up attending their wedding reception with congratulations and gifts? And tell myself as i travel back home that it was all for the best and we would never have been compatible and at least this way we could keep being friends?

So what this closing down of my blog from the eyes of the prying public has done is it has atlast liberated me to get a lot of stuff off my mind safe from the eyes of the lecherous stalkers who orgasm on reading my every misadventure which i faithfully document here. Up yours assholes- oh wait, you wont read this will you?

P.S. -Coming up in future posts- more trash talking, more nose thumbings and more frank confessions on “the dark blog”.

ஆம்லெட் எகாநோமி தியரி – என் இலங்கை பயண கட்டுரைகள்-1


ஆம்லெட் எகாநோமி தியரி – என் இலங்கை பயண கட்டுரைகள்-1

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“என்னது ப்லிய்ட்டு கான்செல்லா????” என்று வாயை பொலந்ததொடு எதிரில் இருந்த தொசையை அப்படியெ தொடம வெச்சுட்டேன். என்னடா இது ஒரு பெரிய மேட்டர்ரான்னு நீங்க நெனைக்கறது தெரியுது- நான் தொசையை தொடாதது அதிசயம் அல்ல. எது அதிசயம் என்றால் என் எதிரில் அமர்ந்து இருந்த என் நண்பர்கள் எல்லாம் நான் தோசையை தொடாமல் வைத்து விட்டதை வாயை போலந்து பார்த்தது தான். அப்படி என்ன அந்த தோசையில் என்று நீங்கள் யோசிக்கறத்துக்கு முன்னாடியே சொல்லிடறேன் அது ஒரு சதா மசாலா தோசை தான். ஆனால் அந்த தோசைக்கு நான் பட்ட பாட்டிருக்கே – அஞ்சு நாளா தோச தோசன்னு ஆயிரம் கிலோமீட்டர் அலைஞ்சது – அதுதான்ங்க இங்க மேட்டரு.

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இலங்கை என்னும் ஸ்ரீலங்காவுக்கு ஒரு வாரம் சுற்று பயணம் போன பொது நிறைய பேறு நிறையவே அட்வைஸ் சொன்னாங்க. இலங்கையில இப்படி இருக்கும் அப்படி இருக்கும், இப்படி நடந்துக்கணும் அப்படி நடந்துக்கணும்னு. ஆனா எந்த எழவெடுத்த நாதாரி பயலும் கடைசி வரைக்கும் சொல்லவேயில்ல சாப்பாட்டுக்கு அங்க நீங்க டிங்கி தான்டா அடிக்கனுமுன்னு. தப்பா நெனக்காதீங்க என் கிட்டக்க காசு நிறையவே இருந்துச்சு – நம்ம ஊரு ரூபா ஒண்ணுக்கும் அவங்க ரூபா ரெண்டுன்ன தாராளமா செலவு பண்ணலாம்லா. ஆனா அந்த ஊர்ல எறங்குன முதல்லா சோறு தண்ணி கண்ணுலயே படலங்க. எந்த ஹோட்டல்லுக்கு போனாலும் ஆப்பம் இடியாப்பம்ன்னு இந்த ரெண்டு தான் குடுக்கறணுங்க திங்க – வேற எதுவும் தெரியல அவங்களுக்கு. மிஞ்சி போனா பரோட்டா போடறானுங்க – அதுவும் ஆறிபொய்யி.

அதுக்கும் தொட்டுக்க என்ன தெரியுமா? கருவாட்டுக் கொழம்பும் மீன் கொழம்பும். காலங்காத்தலே டிபன் சாப்பிட போன காரமா கருவாட்டுக் கொழம்பும் ஆப்பமுமா வெக்கறான்னுங்க எதுரல. நான் சாதரணமா  கருவாட்ட ஒரு பிடி பிடிக்கறவன் தான், மீன்னுணா எனக்கு உசுரு தான். ஆனா அதுக்குன்னு காலையில ஆறு மணிக்கு அறதூக்கத்துல இந்தா கருவாடுன்னா எப்பிடி?? சரி போனா போகுதுன்னு ஒரு நாள் மீன் கொழம்பும் ட்ரை பண்ணி பாப்போமேன்னு ஆர்டர் பண்ணா- ஒரு சட்டி நிறைய கொளம்ப கொடுத்தான். உள்ள தேடி தேடி பாக்கறேன் மீனே காணோம். எங்க பாஸ் பீசு காணோம்னு கேட்டா, நீங்க கொளம்ப தானே ஆர்டர் பண்ணீங்க, மீன் பீசு எக்ஸ்ட்ரா’ங்கரன். டேய். அந்த மீனா கண்ணுலயாச்சும் காட்டுங்கடா நான் சாப்படறது மீன கொழம்பு தானான்னு கான்பிறம் பண்ணிக்கறேன்ங்கற லெவெலுக்கு கொண்டாந்த்துட்டானுங்க.

இத்தனைக்கும் அந்த ஆப்பம் இடியாப்பாம் ஒன்னும் சீப்பாய் இல்ல. எந்த தட்டுக்கடைக்கு போனாலும் நம்ம ஊரு சரவணா பவன் ரேஞ்சுக்கு விலைய சொல்றான்னுங்க. ஒரு சாத “டிபன் பிளஸ் டி” சாப்பிட்டா ஆயிரம் ரூபாய்க்கு கொறைச்சல் இல்லாம பில்ல தீட்டுறாணுங்க. ஆனா தோசை இட்லி மட்டும் கெடைக்காது எங்கேயும். ஒரு நாள் நைட்டு நமக்கு தெரிஞ்ச ஒரே வேலை இல்லா பட்டதாறி கோபால்’லுக்கு போன் போட்டு “தம்பி நீ உடனேயே கோடீஸ்வரன் ஆகனுமா? டக்குனு ஒரு விசா வாங்கிட்டு இலங்கைக்கு வந்து ஒரு தோச கடைய போட்டு பாரு. அடுத்த சரவணா பவன் அண்ணாச்சி நீ தான்டா ராசா’ன்னு” ஐடியா வேறு கொடுத்தேன்.

இந்த வேலவாசி பகல் கொள்ளைய சமாளிக்க ஒரேயொரு வழி தான் தோனுச்சு. ஒர்ரு ஹோட்டல்ளையும் மெனு கார்டு ப்ளீஸ்னா நம்மளை அண்ணாந்து புதுசா என்னத்த கேக்கராணுங்க’ன்னு பாக்கறப்போ ஒரு ஐடியா தோணிச்சு – ஆம்லேட் வெலைய முதல்ல கேப்போம் அப்புறம் அதா வெச்சு எக்குதப்பா நம்மாளே டெசைய்டு பண்ணுவோம்’ன்னு. ஏன்னா இத்தனுண்டு சிங்கள் அம்லேட் கூட மூண்ணூறு ரூபாய்ன்னு ஹார்ட் அட்டாக் குடுகக்றணுங்க. அதான் ஆம்லேட் வேலைய வெச்சு ஹோட்டலுக்கு உள்ள போலாமா வேணாமான்னு முடிவெடுக்கறதுன்னு ஒரு ப்ரில்லியன்ட் ஐடியா’வ எங்க அண்ணன் ஜோதிவேல் அவுக கண்டுபிடிச்சாங்க. அதுவும் நல்லாவே வொர்க்அவுட் ஆச்சு ட்ரிப்பு முழுக்க. முட்டையயே பாக்கா’த ஊருடா அது’ன்னு எந்த பிளாகர் கம்நாட்டியும் அவன் ப்லாக்’ல இதுவரைக்கும் எழுதவேயில்லங்கற மேட்டற நான் தாழ்மையோடு இங்க தெரிவிச்சுக்கறேன். ஆகமொத்தம் நம்ம “ஆம்லெட் எகாநோமி தியரிய” நான் ஐய்னா சபைக்கு அனுப்பலாம் இருக்கேன்.

dosai

சரி, நம்ம கைக்கு எட்டுன தோச வாய்க்கு எட்டாத மேட்டர்க்கு வருவோம். அண்ணா….அத்தா….இட்லி, தோசை, சோறு எங்க கெடக்கும்’ன்னு ஒரு வாரம் பூரா இலங்கை மொத்தம் அலஞ்சவனுக்கு கடைசி நாள் அன்னிக்கி காலைல்ல கொளோலம்போல்ல ஒரு ஹோட்டல்ல தோச, மசாலா தோச, பேப்பர் ரோஸ்ட்ன்னு பார்த்த உடனே “தாய் மண்ணே வணக்கம்’ன்னு” எ.ர்.ரஹ்மான் பீஜிம் எல்லாம் கேக்க நாக்கு எச்ச சுரக்க உட்காந்தவண்ட்ட எதிர்ல இருந்த நம்ம குழு தலைவர் (இது அணைத்து வயதினரும் படிக்கும் பதிவானதால் டிசண்டாகா சொல்லிக் கொள்கிறேன்) அண்ணன் ஜோதிவேல் அவர்கள் அப்போ பார்த்து “ஜீ, இன்னிக்கி நைட்டு நம்ம ரேடுர்ன் ப்ளய்யிட்டு கான்செல் ஆயிடுச்சு சென்னை வெள்ளத்தால. இன்னும் நாலு நாளைக்கு நாமா இங்க தான்’ன்னு” ஒரு போடு போட்டாரே பாருங்க. அப்புரம் தோச எறங்கும்மா உள்ள? ….

இப்படி பட்ட சில/பல உள்குத்துகளை வாங்கி அதையும் தாண்டி நான் எப்பிடி நம் தாய் நாட்டுக்கு உயிரோட மீண்டு வந்தேன்’ங்கற மீதி மேட்டர்’ரா அடுத்த பதிவுல சொல்றேன். மீண்டும் வருக.

 

 

 

Hindi Film “Tamasha” – A Review


[Movie Review – Tamasha starring Ranbir Kapoor, Deepika Padukone, Dir- Imtiaz Ali]

Tamasha

Why do we travel?  Seriously why? Do we travel just to see more of the world? Or do we travel to find out more about ourselves? I would say the second was more true for me. Atleast on the evidence of my most recent trip abroad. I am sure everyone of us knows first hand that every single trip is different- every time we leave the comforts of our home to go off and slum somewhere  we are challenging ourselves to forsake all the comforts we are used to. But some trips do more than that, they push you to the limit, they redefine what challenging is to your own mind, take you to such extremes that you never thought existed and demand that you give more than you ever thought possible. Such trips re-define yourself to your own eyes. A trip like that shows you what you can be if you weren’t what you are right now.

There i was in the middle of the Indian ocean , well at least on a tiny part of it, wearing a mask and snorkel and peering about underwater starring at rocks and tiny little fish darting around and all i could think of right then was why the hell am i spending all this time with these rocks, while i could be comfortably spending some time with a vodka on the rocks. That was a moment of revelation for me and all the way back on the boat to the shore i was promising myself that never again would i go for a vacation which involves any action, except to lie on a beach somewhere with a drink in my hand- that is my kinda vacation. Its these epiphanies which travel brings out in us and holds a mirror to our true selves like nothing else does and the least  we can do is to at least  hold on to these memories even if we dont do anything else with them in our lives.  But sometimes some people do- they take these lessons and make them work in their lives. They re-invent themselves and start a new life post the trip.

Like in the movie Tamasha starring ranbir kapoor and deepika padukone which i  started out to actually review here on the blog before i got sidetracked into  my own reminiscences. There is a ten minute sequence at the start of the movie where the hero and heroine – strangers to each other who meet by accident  at a corsican resort and become acquaintances- decide to live out their fantasies for the ten days they stay there on vacation and instead of living their own true lives they take on the persona’s of their favorite film stars.

The rest of the movie is about showing the boringly routine real life of these two characters- especially ranbir kapoor who is trapped in an everyday corporate job with an overbearing evil boss and an extraordinarily demanding father who insists on responsibility before anything else. Crushed under the weight of his mundane existence he runs into the heroine again after a gap of a few years and she tells him that his everyday life is a mask while his real self was the one she met on vacation.  That flips him and he turns violent with her- for of course, if you have spent years in denial and self repression, to be shown the truth of it all is maddening to say the least and acceptance is very very hard and almost impossible to get over the self delusion.

The rest of the movie is about how the hero casts aside the mantle of being responsible and goes back to his real carefree self and in the process rekindling the romance with the heroine which ends in the alls well that ends well genre favored of our directors. But although the ending is as cliched as they come, the middle half of the movie where ranbir kapoor shows all the angst of a sensitive soul crushed under family and societal responsibilities is as outstanding a piece of cinema as i have watched all year long.  Tamasha gives a lot of lessons in a jolly tamasha way. Its  worth a watch and a re-watch. Highly recommended.

Being Mortal, But Moral?


Being Mortal, But Moral?

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This post is about death. If you feel its too morbid a topic to talk about and would rather not read anymore please feel free to stop right now. If not lets continue talking.

The average human life is replete with failures, setbacks and rejections. We put on a brave face, tell each other that its all passing clouds and we have to stay positive and get on with living our lives as best as we can. But there is one facet of our life which we cannot change despite all the best intentions, positive thoughts and Facebook memes shared between strangers and acquaintances and that’s the great leveler, death.  Now you may wonder why i am talking so freely about something we all avoid talking about, most of us even hesitate to think about and you are right- its only because people like me, who work in the healthcare field are on an ever present acquaintance with death, so much so that it makes a lot of us doctors talk matter of fact way about death to everyone we meet as if we are somehow immune to its effects. And we need that shield of immortality (mentally) to walk into sick rooms all day long, everyday of the year to stand beside people who are sick enough to die soon and treat them without giving thought about catching something from those patients and dying ourselves. If we think that way for even one minute, we wont be good doctors at all, we would just have to retire.

But death comes to doctors too- despite their denials in their own fallibility. And death comes to patients- despite their doctors and their best efforts too.  I have seen so many doctors who give that perfunctory – he/she will be alright soon in the hope that they will be alright and not because they know for a certainty that the patient will be alright. Its a humbling fact to agree to but its the truth. For all the advances we have in diagnostics we can still predict only the amount of damage and disease we discover at that point in a patients body and we cannot with any fair degree of certainty extrapolate the results from the test to predict the date of death. A man who get a 64-slice or 128-slice sonogram and pronounced to be as healthy as a mule heart-wise can still drop dead the next day because the heart muscle may refuse to cooperate with the doctors prediction or the liver refuses to produce clotting factors or the kidney has been abused too much and simply shuts down.  And even the postmortem might not be conclusive for it can only tell about how it happened- a thrombotic event or a coronary occlusion but not about why it happened when it did.

That “why death comes when it comes” is still a whole lot of mystery to everyone. Oh, we have theories to explain it. Modern medicine has all these researches about aging, cellular damage,apoptosis- programmed cell death which is the he simplest and most widely believed reason. It goes something like this – every cell in the body contains DNA, which acquires gene mutations over time. These mutations can sometimes occur in an instant or they can build up slowly over decades and when these mutation reach a certain tip over point- cell death occurs. If enough cells die- the organ dies. If some vital organ dies- the whole organism- the human body in this case dies.  Thats just the scientific explanation of how we die. But the why, still remains unanswered. Death is final, death happens to everyone, we are all on the road to death and we might drop dead tomorrow- you, me and everyone of us.  Accept that and it makes the rest of our life easier to live with.

And now i come to the moral part of this post. Knowing that we are all going to die soon, despite all our best laid plans and maneuverings and a thousand little things we do to ease our lives in the long run- what if we do not have that long run? What if we were to die tomorrow? Would we still lie, cheat, back-stab, betray and character assassinate if we know that we would no longer be around to reap the benefits  later on? Would we still make long term plans that involve short term evil actions justifying it to our conscience as necessary evil on our way to future success, if we realize we don’t have a future at all?  Or would try to live a more moral life remembering that what we do today is not going to change anything to our benefit? Will morality rise if we knew that our days were numbered or would we go the other way? I am curious to know what you think.  So do share your thoughts with me on this question.

P.S. This question about the morality of our actions applies only to the average normal person among us who wont mind cutting a few corners to get ahead in life, regretting the necessity of doing so all the time under their pricking conscience. For the other kind- the born evil kind of people, this question does not apply, for they would go to their graves doing evil to the last minute even if they never benefit from it.  Lately i have been meeting a lot of such evil people who gave me the germ to write this post. And i am curious to know others experiences about such ones.