I woke up early unlike other days to witness the great celestial spectacle. And lo! The room was in total darkness. Oh! Was the eclipse already in full swing? And I ran around the room to find the door. This was my first time in this room with absolutely no light, not even the ray that is emitted by the night lamp or those red devils that flicker from the switch board, put purposely to scare the hell out of me. I scampered for the torch, my mobile and somehow without much incident or accident and very little noise I reached the handle of the door and yanked it open. There was still time for the eclipse to begin, another 45 minutes. 

This was one of those few times in my life I hated it when I saw the rains and the clouds. Furious! I went back in to find the remote of the television, when I realised that the darkness in the room was the result of a power cut. I walked around the guest house of this 1600 acre to find that not a soul was awake and nobody realised there was any power; that they were under the blankets to ward off the cold brought by nature and not the ac or the fan. What with these rains, the air conditioners and the fans are inevitably switched off (who wants to freeze to death), and the only way of figuring out whether there is power before the sun rises are the goodnight mosquito apparatus. Disappointed, I went back under the blankets and woke up at 7:30 
The scientists stationed at Surat were not very happy either. They accepted the cloudy skies and the rains as one of nature jealous
ways. They were there to collect information on the shadow cast by the moon and its duration; at least something like that was repeatedly being reported by news channels. The power was back with a fluctuating voltage around 8 am. The rains still haven’t stopped. Thank God the DTH service did not feel like holding up at that moment. Sometimes when things go wrong, it goes wrong all the way. Every news channel had the nine or six column grid featuring the diamond ring as seen from Varnasi and other places, the phases of the eclipse from Mumbai, Hyderabad, Delhi, atop the Jetlite flight, from land, sea and air; and also in China and Japan.
Anyways in retrospect, I only had some x-rays films to trace the movements of the moon over the sun. Thought of making a pinhole camera in the morning! As the brother put it, ask your neighbour to look through the film and if he/she is still not blind you look through.
This my third solar eclipse. I caught one in 95 or 96 and one a few years back in 2005 (I think), both partial with x-ray films atop the terrace of the respective building I was put up. The first was at home and the second was at the university. The university one was a tricky one, because all of us who wanted a peak at sun had to sneak past the room of a wing mate who had warned us about the after effects and the superstitions surrounding it. She stopped us from dining at the mess for breakfast and lunch and to drink water. When it was time for the moon to cast the shadow, we kept her busy and ran up the steps to catch the sun.
The next eclipse is in January 2010 visible to the Sri Lankans and southern Indians..
Until then…Mr. Moon keep fit and be healthy, gym a little and muscle up your craters. Convey my regards to the Rabbit.

Image Courtesy: Your Zodiac forecast from Jonathan Cainer 

—————- Now playing: www.Songs.PK – Desi Girl – www.Songs.PK via FoxyTunes


Movie Review: Bhamaram| Blessy | Mohanlal, Murali Gopi

It has been some time now since I watched a film in Malayalam in the theaters. I wanted to watch the sequel to “In Hariharnagar”. 
I watched Bhramaram today. I do not attempt a film review here though, still some thoughts… I loved the beginning and was expe
cting a catharsis… but the last ten minutes of the first half just erased that notion away…. It began well…the sounds, the blue-grey-black-white colours added to the effect of a Mohanlal character being a villain like in his first movie…A villain-hero… I loved the shot where Shivankutty (Mohanlal) closes the door to his room saying a goodnight to his friend and his wife he is visiting in the city.Beautifully shot… the slow pace of the closing door, the half profile shot of the actor and the agonized eyes accompanied with the eerie sound and the shades of black and blue… it was something for the audience to chew on…however, it was not sustained. If this intensity and the momentum of the first hour had continued through till the end there would have been a definite purging of emotions as a result of the tragic action. But it never happened. Half way and the whole story was out, the suspense gone and everybody in the hall anticipated the end. Blessy movies always end on a sad note, which leaves the viewers a little squeamish.

All Blessy movies have a no nonsense approach. About everyday life and its twists… High emotion, less drama, poignant issues… He had made films about the dislocated Gujarat earthquake victims (I liked this film the best, a Mammooty film), Alzheimer’s, and now an effort at a road movie.

Another challenge: the titles of his movies use words dusted out of the Malayalam dictionary to add to the public vocabulary, as the all-in-one director/scriptwriter… rolled into one puts it.
The attraction: Mohanlal, Mohanlal and again Mohanlal… and Blessy, the director. I am a great fan of this actor, his graceful moves, fights, effortless acting, however not enrolled as his fan in the association. No! and I don’t watch all his movies, I love his late 80s and early 90s Priyadarshan hits…don’t mind watching them infinite number of times


I think this man is gonna murder somebody in the near future.. He is so frustrated in life…. With the stray cats who sits on his scooter seat, with the neighbour’s black dog who shits in his path, with the skies for these not stop rains, with the birth of his second daughter, with his wife, with not making it to many places he wished for, with his unemployment, with not getting that visa stamp to visit the country of his dreams, the Americas! The frustration was obvious when he with the help of another friend (the co-conspirer) lured the concerned black dog into his yard with food, cornered it and unashamedly threw big boulders at it. The poor thing escaped with a broken leg, thankfully. All this and the wife and children exclaimed, “ Oh! That dog should have been killed.” “Next time, I’ll take bigger stone and aim well, like I did to that cat some months ago,” said the younger daughter. The rage, the ferocity, the blood surging into his cheeks, his evil in his eyes… I feel the man will murder somebody in the near future or commit suicide out of sheer dissatisfaction in life. Thanks to my father, the dog was left to live his life.

Where has all their love for other animals gone. For god’s sake that is another man’s pet, another being who has a right to live. Call Blue Cross or the Corporation Animal nabbing squad… Why commit such inhuman crimes. If you are frustrated and unhappy with your life, it is your business, why harm others! When I got married last month, this man came up to me and said, go work otherwise your husband will have no respect for you! Indirectly meaning that he does not respect his unemployed wife?! And keep on studying like me, see at my age too I study. I say what is the use of such studies or piling up degrees and wasting money when you do not have the will to work or find work. He lazes around and throws his negativity around. The children for whom the father is a model are growing up the same way, Wonder where they are headed! Even if this is I just can’t help it!!! I’m enraged

Of Late!!

So if I say I play TT…… I would be playing on the fields of a cricket field, a match of Twenty-Twenty or I could be playing Table Tennis indoors. A passerby who eavesdrops on this bit of conversation would be in double thoughts right! I don’t know if people would be so keen to decode bits of other people’s talk… as part of good manners, of course

The new Maruti Service centre ad has no mention of cars or a picture of a car in it. Nevertheless, the message goes through… bring your Maruti Suzuki cars to your Maruti Suzuki service centre.

I am reading Eragon now… had left the book unfinished a couple of years back. An airport collection, it even has my boarding pass as the bookmark, a reminder of the trip. Rereading now, not exactly….the other books lined up are Gulliver’s Travels and The Three Musketeers. Now with the release of Slumdog Millionaire, the movie, Althos and Porthos have become quite famous. The third musketeer is Aramis. Gulliver’s Travels is always considered a children’s book and nobody takes up the book once they grow old. But Swift wrote it as a satire of the human race and the nation!!

It is raining here, day in and day a difference from long days. I never saw long days like those before… the sun rising at 6 am and setting at 7:30pm…… there are some days I wait for 7pm so that I can go out for a walk without an umbrella or a cap.

And the Cadbury’s ad agency has totally lost it. The previous Amitab Bachan ad showed that their creative juices were dying out. But the latest one, which asks everyone to have a bar of Cadburys because it is the first day of the month is beyond comment.

Wasted Effort!

I’m home for a few days and there is this whole ruckus about waste disposal and management in the city like it was same time last year. Last year, the Mayor’s office decided to streamline the process of waste collection as the city was getting filthy with the heaps of waste dumped at the corners wherever the bins were kept. Therefore, all the public bins were removed with effect from the 1st of June last year. Every house was to get one or two buckets for heaping their waste in and the corporation workers were to come and collect it for a nominal sum of money per month. June 1st indeed saw the removal of all those white and blue coloured bins but where were the buckets? We waited for days together and the waste in the house kept on piling up. The little detail I forgot to mention out here is that the Mayor’s office had rules on the use of plastic bags also (started a year earlier). Plastic bags with certain micron units if used and seen carried along would fetch a person something like a jail sentence and of course the fine. So it was difficult to walk into the city from outside with plastic bags because no such rule existed elsewhere in the country. They scared us with the idea of hidden cameras, plane cloth police men and some enlightened citizens who took part in the programme for overseeing the smooth functioning and obedience of the order. And the Mayor as an example started a biogas plant in her backyard, as the first citizen of the city.

To tell the truth, it was disgusting walking through the streets of the city during the first two weeks of June, last year. The bins were off the road, but the waste remained. People waited for the buckets and when they never came they woke up at 4 in the morning, carried a bag of waste and set off for morning walks. The city was stinking and there were heaps and heaps of dirt and filth all over. Then came the boards where previously the bins were kept. “Waste disposal here is a punishable offence” it said. And slowly the base of the board became the new waste bin area. We saw that the corporation workers regularly came and cleared the ground below the board every day. This practice continued until a few weeks back, when the Mayor’s office issued a stricter sterner order. This time round the office kept the boards but increased the fine and the jail sentences if caught disposing waste with the warning of those hidden cameras and all those people. No waste accumulated this time on the roads. They are clean but the houses are getting loaded with residue –plastic bags, food and paper waste.

The Mayor’s office is sitting pretty. No corporation workers come to collect the waste neither are there any buckets. In paper the programme is working smoothly. The citizens are helpless! At home, my mother has dug a hole to make compost out of the degradable waste. So have most of the people in the neighbourhood who have some mud around their houses. But the bags are piling, milk cannot come in a paper bag, can it? It is a difficult and irritating situation. The programme made many citizens at least one in each home healthy and more religious. They walked a distance and visited their religious places and came back home rejuvenated in body, mind and soul. However, this time, I think the only option left as a last stand is to throw the waste into the Mayor’s yards.

The idea of streamlining the disposal is good but the Mayor’s office never implemented the operation properly. The citizens are ready to obey. Everybody would love to breathe in fresh air. So, if the buckets come and the workers do their work, every citizen is ready to follow the rules and keep the city clean. Hopefully, the Mayor’s office understands our plight!!

My Meeting!!

I met Mr. Crossing,

my long lost friend last Saturday

while I was on my way to


It was an unscheduled unavoidable meeting,

so it took the both of us by surprise.

But we were sure excited!

It had been a long time since we saw each other,

so much so that we forgot

each others’ presence in this country.

Mr Crossing was some distance from Mr Highway

and as always

Mr Narrow Road was too crowded

this time of the evening.

Our meeting was to be delayed because of

Mr. Ricks, Miss. Cycles,

Mr. & Mrs. Maruti 800 and Omni…

Mr Bajaj and Miss Tvs Scooty ….

you see they all wanted to be there first

(maybe prior appointment)

to meet him.

I saw that Mr Crossing was somebody important around here.

It seemed that the whole garage was out here to meet Mr Crossing

and then jump into the waters of

the Jampore Beach.

Crossing had to wait to see me, and

when he did at last,

we sat and chatted face to face for at least 15 minutes

with fried peanuts



for company.

I say….this is life….

We are all dreamers, some proclaimed others hidden. Sometimes to be called a dreamer or a romantic would mean or be read as say I love Hitler kind of a statement these days. As a matter of fact there was this boy in the university who came up to the stage during a seminar well attended compared to a whole lot of others, and shouted it loud and clear about the Hitler factor, I mean. It was interesting to see the reactions of the audience after that. Shuffling of feet and mob on their way to the stage, thankfully the chairs were nailed to the floor. The union leaders and the opposition suddenly were one party, they unanimously disagreed rather disapproved to what was shouted out from this kurta clad, bhujji looking guy of 21. It was a strong statement and it is yes clichéd as always the news spread like wild fire. And what, he got all the attention he never wanted on the 3000 acre campus, even from the wild snakes, mynahs and the salamanders during the first months of campus life when the freshers hide behind or under anything to escape from the snares and glares of our beloved seniors!!

Coming back to dreaming of course….. a couple of us, read girls were walking to our hostel from the small gate at around 10 in the night after a nice dinner at our favourite outlet. We walked under those night lamps, and the shade of trees, trying to find Orion on a full moon night. And then she tripped right in the middle of the road. Who dares to put a stone in the way? Well the tortoise or turtle looks like one doesn’t it, and is as hard as one when you feel it. We stare for a while. We say our ooh and aahs so sweeeeeeet and all that mush… a couple on their usual night walk stops and joins us. A twist in the tale…his girlfriend was one of the go green types from her attire and yes, she actually knew the genealogy of this turtle. Yup it was a turtle, she said. For a moment I thought she would spell out who its parents were… remember, middle of the road and the clock ticks to 11. I know, nonsense is what most of you would say, but once inside the university campus, you get to meet so many of these creatures at odd hours that anybody would pause and try to reaffirm their ties with nature at least for the first couple of days, especially if you want to impress a newly found partner.

There, at that moment … enters our hero on the bike….”poor thing, it will die,” he said, “chalo pick it up let’s drop it at the peacock lake.” ya! Case of lost and found it was, and he was so concerned! The environmentalist picked up leaves, we took a stick, and the turtle was hauled onto the hands of our poor lover boy, the pillion rider on our hero’s bike. Unexpected! In the tension, the turtle sent out a smell signal and the bikers had their hands all occupied. I pity their noses, and glad that we had our hands to cover them!! Maybe it would be happily swimming in the waters of the peacock lake these days.

Dreaming … well, another time, was I glad I reached a few minutes before the bell for my exam I met My Prof in the yard. There was a kite in the sky, even to this day, I can’t differentiate between a kite and an eagle and yes, with the sun right above me, threatening to blind me abt bring tears to my bare eyes I could barely spot the tail of the bird, which was pointed to. Curses in my mind, why did I have to choose the short cut!! Thank fully he was the invigilator and I walked in having spotted an eagle with a prey up up above in the sky.

And today, I dreamt of hot pooris with yellow potato masala and I ended up having my favourite breakfast as usual…. bread butter jam… with my coffee of course!!


Hearts it is all the way!!

Now playing: That’ The Way
via FoxyTunes

Long time ago my dad taught me how t
o play with those rectangular pack of 52 cards (there were a couple of those irritating jokers of course). Since then, I think or is it later in my childhood that I started developing an affection towards the 13 cards of the Heart suit. To this day, I feel a bias towards those cards of the hearts suit and whenever I tend to play any game of cards alone on the computer or deal just like that, where there is a competition as to which suit would win, my prejudiced mind always favours the hearts.

I don’t think it has anything to do with the colour red because the Diamond suit comes last in my list of favourites among the four suits (even though I was part of a house called Blue Diamond at school). Between the Clubs and Spades, well, it depends on my mood, sometimes it is one or the other. But Hearts has captured my heart since the age of say 5, I think so {don’t give me that look, playing cards was a hobby since those younger days, you know …..mongoose, fish, bluff (never liked it so much as I still get bluffed every time I play), donkey, money}…..

I remember those days when I was in school. Daddy would have purchased three sets of cards to play when exams were over in March, when the school gates were locked with that big fat iron lock, so that it could not be opened even if the principal wanted to for 2 whole months of April and May. The night of the 31st usually, the last day of the term exams for the academic year, the four of us sat across the dining table after a relaxed dinner, armed with 13 cards each to start the first game of Rummy that summer. Rummy has always been a favourite amongst the three of us except Amma of course. She likes to play the trump game of 28. Interesting game, I must say and I love it as well. But the lack of a fourth player always made it not easy to play the game in full swing. The pairing is just not right with three players, because it is a team game, and with teams comes the spirit and the thrill. And whenever Daddy was in a mood to play 28, the game went on like never before. He always bids to choose the trump, irrespective of whether it is his call or not. He calls for higher bids always to this day. Amma too. We do it now, but as kids who were partnering them we would always ask him, “Daddy, Amma do you have them all, the Jacks, will we win?”

Cards are always fun, makes for a lively hour any time of day with anybody who knows to play and call honours or say Rummy!

Anything for Love, is it!!

All of us love a lot of people, or may be a few…. But what is love? It is indefinable, that’s what I think, at times. Never know what people could do or wouldn’t do for their loved ones. The concept of love is a vicious circle in the sense that, it just compels us to act on impulse even though there might be pain or torture or whatever in the process. Recently, there was a paper article about a woman who married a crippled man. I wonder what was the feeling that made her take such a step? Was it bold? Then there was this girl, orphaned at a very young age, brought up by the nuns in a convent, who married a man who had met with an accident and had lost his four limbs. Come to think of it, I concluded then, during my degree days, that it was an escape for her from the convent and of course the money factor. I have not entered the institution called marriage, therefore, inexperienced at the goings on in it, as my mother always says. She says that the impulsiveness most often never works in that relationship. There is a whole array of factors to be taken into consideration before thinking of say, a divorce, for example. In the above cases, I don’t have a clue whether these people were in love with each other when they were fully able bodied and then the marriage took place after the accident. No clue. But how many will do it for love. I think everybody has a right to live their own lives well. I haven’t the fainted idea what how I could react in a similar situation. I appreciate Shahid Kapoor’s character in the movie Vivah for accepting Amrita Arora in spite of her burns. But those are films! What about in the real world?

A very Merry Christmas

It is the Christmas season again and I’m jumping like on a trampoline. My heart just beats a thousand times over every time December comes. It could be the memories of the Christmas past or the coming together of a few significant people in my life, decorating the house, the midnight mass, the feast or the getting ready for the big season! I have no clue, it is an amalgamation in a sense of all these and many things more which I fail to recollect and put down here. Anyways, if not at home, Christmas seems so desperately boring. Yes, I still do the shopping, the socks, set the tree and put up the star, attend the mass and meet up with friends. Still a vacuum exists or is created however I try to enjoy. Like people always ask me, why aren’t you homesick, as if it was some handbag I have to carry wherever I go when not at home.

The celebrations are quite different at my place. Beginning with the midnight mass, the cake cutting, Christmas act, and games, how can I forget the Christmas gift. It is worth staying up that night. On the way, every house has a star lighted as a symbol of the celebration. Then there is the making of the crib, usually on the previous day. There is a prize for the best crib….the judges come down on the eve of Christmas to mark points for the different categories on their sheet. The planning begins sometimes in the beginning of December, sometimes late when the exams are over and or after the school Christmas celebration….Whether to make a bridge, or a river, or a two storeyed manger…. out of wood, cane, theramocol or cardboard….days of free following ideas from the young and the old alike, considered with a lot of thought. Then there is the tree, thanks to the artificial ones in the market, one does not have to go out in search of trees, trim them and drag them back home. Sometimes trees are bare, without leaves painted white with the colourful decorations. Otherwise the trees are huge and green with branches. The day before Christmas is a whole flurry of activity. Set the crib, hang the star, introduce lights and decorate the house. Because, the star appears on the eve of Christmas it is the last decoration to be hung. A day for the market, to purchase the duck…duck roast is the specialty like turkey is for Thanksgiving. The food is just great! The rich plum cake and the wine….
I just love the season……… and wish you all have a merry Christmas and a wonderful new year!! tatata