Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Kodai Vidumurai - I

The India trip started on a rather eventful note on the tiger airways flight itself. The guy sitting next to me was a foodcourt stall owner in geylang and we hit it off immediately. The guy was waiting eagerly for drinks to arrive and when it did arrive, ordered a vodka. It was a smirnoff 50 ml small bottle. I had juice as i was already hungry and didn't want to aggravate it by consuming alcohol. He had 2 more vodkas and he kept asking me so i decided to have a can of tiger beer (Tiger airways don't keep real beer, they only have tiger beer). By the time i finished my can, his vodka count was 4. He then ordered another one and got me another can and won't even allow me to pay for it. Lucky day, i thought to myself. It wasn't finished yet. In all he had 8 vodkas, all on the rocks and i had 3 cans of beer (all OC). He desperately wanted a smoke and somehow managed 2 drags in the toilet. I went in after him in to the toilet. The air hostess banged the door and asked me whether i was smoking. I politely asked her to wait till i was done with what i was doing before she started banging. Once i came out, i told her i didn't smoke and when she asked who was before me, i said i don't know. You don't betray guys who buy you beer, even if it is only tiger. We exchanged numbers and he reminded me atleast 10 times to call him while in singapore. I did tell him that i don't forget people who buy me alcohol.

The very next day, i went to the airtel super singer junior show shoot at AVM studios in vadapalani. Of course i wasn't performing. Just went along to cheer one of the contestants. All right, i went to check out Diyva. The sets are quite cramped though they look quite wide on TV. They were shooting the unplugged round with a young guy as the pianist. He looked marginally older than the kids and was quite brilliant. There were other senior musicians on the cello and drums. Divya however was nowhere to be seen. Just when i thought my luck had ran out, she appeared. She looks chunkier in person than on screen and when she walks, the stage creaks . But she has a charming demeanour and is quite pretty. The lunch at the studios was awesome. Met some of the kids. As we were finally leaving, got a chance to meet up and get a snap with divya. (Yes Ganesh, i can see you beaming with pride for your bro!) Mission accomplished. Unfortunately no time for any chatting. That has to wait. And by the way raagini sri of SS senior fame was also there. People who are following all this will understand. For the others, it wasn't meant for you guys anyway.

Tamil new year was celebrated with vada payasam and arundhati (the anushka movie) on TV. As with most of my chennai trips, went for a temple tour the next day. After a quick darshan of Kanchi kamakshi, travelled to the hottest place in all of TN - Vellore. The golden temple in vellore is housed in the centre of a sprawling complex. The entire temple is gold plated and is quite a stunning sight. It was so bloody hot that when we had to walk barefoot for a few steps from the car to the covered walkway, it felt like walking on hot coals. On the way back to chennai, stopped at the dhanvanthri arogya peedam in walajapet. Dhanvanthri is the celestial doctor. The place is essentially a temple but not like a normal temple. They do all sorts of yagnas to supposedly cure ailments. There was a big circular mound with 27 different shrubs each corresponding to one of the 27 nakshatrams. Mine was sengkarungali (long pepper). The temple had the coolest diety. The dhanvanthri statue sported a trendy watch and a stethoscope. Got a sacred thread alongwith a herb tied to my wrist for 200 bucks. Unfortunately it didn't prevent a sore throat and blocked nose while on the way back. Some one quipped that just tying the thread without any faith in the process doesn't help. I had to concur. Along the way learned that 'kondai oosi valaivu' is the tamil equivalent of hairpin curves.

The chennai trip ended with the worst ever sandwich i have ever tasted at the chennai airport. And it cost 50 bucks. There were a couple of nice gujju chicks as the flight was enroute to ahmedabad via mumbai. It made up for the sandwich aftertase even though none of them sat next to me. That's all for now. Will return later. Here's hoping for a Chennai-Mumbai IPL final. Will be happy whoever wins even though my ten bucks are on Mumbai.

Sunday, April 4, 2010


In an earlier post i had said that vijay looked out of his depth in the T20 format. I don't know what he has been having lately but he has been absolutely scintillating. He always looked a gorgeous strokemaker but struggled in the earlier matches. The revival happened in the first match against the Rajasthan royals. He would have won CSK the match had he not been run out. In the next two matches however he has been amazing. I have a sneaking feeling he surprised himself. In his last two innings what has stood out is the clean hitting without compromising on the eye candy nature of his batting. He almost seems incapable of playing a shot in anger. Two shots stood out today. One was the lofted drive against warney, reminiscent of sachin in his prime. The second shot was the one that got him to his century. It was a kind of wristy flicked straight drive, reminding VVS. That is too much class on display in a single innings. But it would have all been in vain had it not been for the best display of fast bowling in the IPL. Bollinger was immense. An economy rate of 3.75 in a T20 game is outstanding. In a game which saw more than 460 runs that is just unbelievable. He hit the deck hard and more often than not it was ball hitting bat. The chants of "bollinger" ringing across the Chidambaram stadium was an amazing albeit strange experience. I bet Bollinger doesn't hear it even at his state matches.

Mumbai have got most things right this season. They have a varied bowling attack, some good hitters, Sach and arguably the best fielder in all of India in R.Satish. He is electric anywhere in the park and hits the stumps regularly. In the match against deccan, he dived full length to stop a ball travelling rather fast (struck by Symmo, so understandable), picked up the ball and fired a rocket throw straight into the keeper's gloves. I got the two results I wanted for today which increases the chances of CSK making the semis. If only Punjab had not messed up yesterday, it would have been even better. Hope Haydos gets going and CSK storms into the semis.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Today's quiz question

Connect these cricketers :

Answer to last week's question:

Both those teams were called "The Invincibles". The top photo is that of the 1948 Australian cricket team led by Don Bradman. The bottom photo is that of the 2003-04 Arsenal team.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Super Over Farce

Why on earth can't a cricket match end in a tie? When you can play 5 days of test match cricket and still end up with no result, why can't a few hours of T20 cricket end in a tie. Mind you, a tie is a result. It just means that both teams didn't deserve to lose or win. In this case, they didn't deserve to win. KXIP were just a touch more desperate than CSK since they were zilch before this. Hence they ended up getting the points. But they are not definitely the winners of this game.

The Super over is grossly unfair to the team batting first in the super over. It is so much more easier to "chase" a target in one over. The team batting first invariably tries to just blindly smash everything out of sight and you end up getting out more often than not. It would be interesting to know the results of the matches decided by the super over till now. I bet most of them would have the chasing team winning. I don't think Hayden watched the ball from Theron's hand (who had bowled superbly earlier). It was a beautifully bowled slower delivery but had Hayden watched the ball he would have dispatched it duly. The super over nerves got to him. Mahela was just plain daft. After smashing Murali over long on for six the very first ball, he tries the same shot again when only 4 runs were required of 5 deliveries. It just goes to show that experience doesn't always translate to smart cricket.

The match was entertaining to say the obvious. Murali was outstanding. Powar used his lack of pace and short stature well. Chawla mixed his googlies well. Theron was awesome. His brilliant penultimate over set up the final over. And not to forget nerveless Kaify taking the finalcatch. CSK should have won the match in a canter. Twice in two matches they have stuttered after Hayden departed, losing the match this time. Vijay looks clearly out of his depth in this version even though he got a poor decision in this match. He is a fine young player but not in the T20 version. CSK is missing Hussey. Take Hayden out and with Dhoni injured, CSK looks marginally better than KKR. The IPL just got a touch more interesting. Vetti boys of CSK!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Today's cricket quiz question

Not completely cricket related. Easy one though. What words connects these two snaps?

Answer to yesterday's question:

They were the people involved in the last dismissal in the two tied tests. Joe Solomon ran out Ian Meckiff in the first tied test at the Gabba in 1961. Greg Mathews got Maninder Singh lbw in the second tied test at Chennai in 1986.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Cricket quiz series

Starting a cricket quiz series from today. This ensures a regular series of posts. Smart eh?

Who are these cricketers and what is the connection between them?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Thoughts on VTV

When i came out of the hall after watching VTV there was more a sense of relief that it was over which is a pity given it was engaging for long stretches. It was beginning to wear thin towards the end and was playing with my patience. The problem with love stories is that no matter how much you play around with the script, you can have only two possibilities. The guy gets the girl or he doesn't. So the narrative style is the key. Gautam has a gift for romantic yarns. He does seem to derive a lot from personal experience. Vazhkaila romba adi pattutaaru pola irukku. Lines like 'one way ticket to heartbreak city' can't be made up by a 'kal nenjam' who hasn't ever fallen in love.

Simbu as Karthik gives a very sincere performance. That should have been easy for him since he starts loving his heroines anyway so he just needed to be himself. Trisha as Jessie looks great. Her costumes are beautiful and simple. She is dressed in saris for the most part and looks elegant and sexy. She hasn't looked this good ever since the days of mounam pesiyadhey and saami.

The first half of the movie is breezy and entertaining. I liked the cinematographer guy who hangs around with Simbu. He was fun with his deadpan dialogue delivery. But the strength and weakness of the movie is the second half. Generally in movies, characters always seem to be cocksure of what they are doing. They know exactly when they fall in love (of course cue music always helps) and they know that they are made for each other etc. Real life hardly is that straightforward. A zillion thoughts are racing through the mind. The mind is always playing tricks. Which is not the case here. However Gautam has made his jessie character very real, so real that after some time you just want to say - please cut the crap and let us all rest in peace. One can understand the pain the character goes through but not feel it and hence it starts to get annoying. It is like having a 'sarakku' session with your friends and one of them starts to tell his own sad story. You want to empathise with him and be comforting but in the end it ain't your story. All you can do is nod your head and come up with some pearls of wisdom.

I have often wondered why do even very good movies have so much drama? Why can't they be a bit more subtle? Even a beautiful movie like Mouna ragam had this dramatic finish towards the end when a dazed Mohan jumps and slips like Kamal in Moondram Pirai and hops on to the train to be reunited with Revathi. But it seems that the emotional high that one gets with such moments in movies is what makes them tick and VTV could have had some more of those. For example there is this cheesy scene where Simbu knocks out Jessie's brother and his goons. For a very short while i was emotionally attached to the scene. Felt like bashing them up myself. It was a shallow scene and quite unnecessary. But i felt the connect. For large portions of the second half, the frustrating behaviour of Jessie is very real and possible to empathize with. But i just didn't care. Maybe VTV could have done with some more drama.

The climax is simple and feels right. That had to be the only way the movie had to end after rambling directionless just like this post.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The lone bright spot

in Neo sports' brain dead cricket coverage is

yes , u gueesed right - Archana Vijaya.
She is charming, articulate, knows her cricket and has even
played cricket at the state level. Ok, kidding. She doesn't know
much cricket. She is smoking hot and the only reason to keep
watching Neo sports between the actual cricket.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Thalai pola varuma

Sachin Tendulkar became the first man to score 200 runs in ODIs.
How did he do it?

a. He got lucky

b. It was a flat pitch

c. He is a genius

d. It is written

Friday, February 19, 2010

An ode to Gunung Rinjani

Ila, playwright and director, was inspired to compose the following poem.
He also blogs here.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Rinjani the trek - Day 4

Had to finish this before reviving this dead blog as part of my chinese new year resolution.I will try my best to recount the details. It has been 3 years. Day 4 started around 2 am. The last stretch of most treks start very early so as to catch sunrise at the summit. After a very early breakfast of i can't remember what, we set off for the summit.

Can't really remember much apart from the fact that we kept bugging Anom the guide as to how much time was left. His answer was invariably almost always the same. We never seemed to make any progress and the summit was almost always at the same position even after a few hours. Exasperated, Anom asked us to stop asking about the time left. It would only dishearten and make u slow was what he said. Daybreak occurred before most of us reached the summit. Anom, Ravi and Shyam were way ahead and i think shyam reached the summit just after dawn.

Gradually, i could see everything around me clearly. The last stretch was a steep incline lined with loose gravel and sand which meant that for every upward step taken, we slipped half a step down. I trudged along slowly up willing myself. By now most of us were pretty exhausted. Leo and Ila had come to a standstill some distance below me. I decided to just take a deep breath and move up by 6-7 steps and then catch my breath for sometime. This stop start motion somehow propelled me up ever so slowly towards the summit and when i reached the summit, Anom welcomed me with outsretched hands. I felt a great sense of accomplishment. Then i saw Ila and leo coming up and i thought they reached up pretty soon considering how far below they were.

The lake from up there looked beautiful. Stayed at the summit for about 40 minutes and then started the way down. Initially it was fun as we just kind of slid through the sand often falling down. After a couple of hours we reached our camp. Then after a quick lunch started on the way down. We then walked almost non stop for about 7 -8 hours and when we reached the town i think it was 10 or 11 pm. Thus ended our momentous rinjani trek. Hooray, i finally finished the post.(Patting myself on the back)

Phantom at the summit

The others with Anom

Segara Anak from the summit

The last stretch

The 'eye' at the centre of the lake