Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A City in Slumber

0 blesses 'n' curses
   I have recently developed this routine of roaming around the city after the stroke of midnight or just before it. We would take our scooters and coast through places, where at day time would be hellish traffic infested roads. The joy you will get from doing that is quite unbelievable. I’ve marked down a ride at Ranganathan street as a “thing I should do before I die”. You can hardly walk there at day time. But then there would be too many cops at night.

  On contrary to many people's belief, Chennai does have a nightlife, a nightlife of a different kind. Chennai’s night is made up of those tea vendors, ice cream vendors, cops and more cops.

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This was first time we did the whole “roam at night” thing. We were filling petrol at kodambakkam. That was where we met our first characters of the night, “Danger guys”. Four guys with a funk and two Yamaha bikes. They were seemingly hiding the booze to save it from the policemen and were having an argument over something which seemed important from far away. I eavesdropped into their conversation. One of the “danger guys” was saying “Machaan ara(half) packet chips vechikinu enna da panna mudiyum” and the other guy said “porum machaan, nalla sarakku dhane? Smell varakkoodadhu”. “The Ara packet chips” What a title would that make? I couldn’t help but laugh. They then drove off with the usual *boom vroom vroom zoom* shtick.

   We then headed towards the Kodambakkam bridge. Few policemen were standing few meters before the bridge. They asked us for the papers of the vehicle, frisked us and then let us off.  A few kilometers later we were frisked again near Semmozhi poonga. Dude! It’s written in our face! We are agmark Pazhams. You can make panjamirtham out of us. Let me give you an example of a good policeman. The other day, we were coming back from the R.T.O beach in Thiruvamyur this and a Cop stopped us, saw our face and said “Go”. Now that is good judgment, isn’t it?

  We went off to Greams road, had some tea, then to marina, viewed the beach from the road, drove back home via West Mambalam and stopped near Pothys to have something. There was a guy selling ice cream. I absolutely wondered how many people other than ourselves would have bought it at that time. He must have had high hopes or must be in a desperate situation to sell stuff at such a time. This was how my first night ride panned out. There are a lot of subtle things about these nights with lots of stories.

   I was talking to one of my friends that I wanted to write something about “Night life” in Chennai. Immediately he asked “Hey! Are you going to write about pubs, booze and stuff like that?” That was the highlight. The very mention of the word nightlife and voila! Such things ring up people's minds. It is absolutely normal.

  The Other day we stopped at Ashok Pillar to have some tea and groundnuts. The person who sold the tea seemed 60-70 years old. It was 1am, mind you. The groundnut vendor looked old too. He puts up shop at 11th avenue Ashok Nagar at evenings and moves over to Ashok pillar at late nights. He doesn’t leave for home until he sells off all that he had that day. Imagine the plight of these two people. When people their age are in deep slumber they are wake to ensure that their family sleeps well.

   R.T.O beach at Thiruvamyur is quite unique. People stay there till 12 during weekdays and even much late than that during Saturdays, unlike other prominent beaches like Marina and Elliot’s. You can sit there and watch the waves hit the shore, let the feeling sink in and have warm talks with friends. Policemen are lodged there to guard that area. There is this picture in our mind that cops take bribes and often are unscrupulous, that is not totally true. The policemen patrolling that place surely must be in their 20’s, fresh from the vigorous training they have undergone at camps. Most of the cops at night are the young guys. They stay up all night! All these vendors and cops work their soul out and are hardly well paid.

  At the national conference organized by ICAI which was held recently, lunch was provided from "Hotel Saravana Bhavan". A person of North-East origin was taking the plates the students ate off of, dumped the leftover and washed the plates. He was assigned of this dirty job, poor soul. So much food was wasted. Why do people take food in their plate if they wouldn't be able to eat it? They were chasing away poor kids who were trying to sneak in during lunch.

  Someone at the end of the day has to do the dirty job and yet we fail to recognize whatever contribution they make.  I found these things very disturbing! This is the ugly part of the night life that most people fail to recognize. If you can, take that scooter/bike of yours, call up some friends and roam your city. See the people who work behind the scenes. A little “Tea nalla irukku na” compliment would give them that much more pleasure. All they need is a pat on the back. Try it.

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Thursday, December 1, 2011

Films and Reality

0 blesses 'n' curses

     Most of the times we compliment films saying “It is damn realistic”. We compliment a film maker with the tag “realistic”. We compliment actors saying he gave a “realistic” performance. People often fail to distinguish between “real” and “realistic” and get worked up. The former is “what it is” and the latter is “trying to be real”.

      Recently I read a review of the film “Mayakkam Enna” which discussed how Selvaraghavan twists the world of reality and ideality. I was thinking about this, waiting for the train. One thing I felt is that people fail to understand that films are never real, they are just warped reality and it is not a mistake to be so.

    People get worked up and judge films if they are not depicted as what they are in the world we live in. In that review, the reviewer was pointing out a thing that “kumudam prints sleazy photos on cover photos and not wildlife photographs”. This is a classic example of what I am talking about. Films are just reality which is warped according to the whim and fancies of the film maker.

   The Film maker creates a world which has its own laws. It is just like a parallel universe, not everything that exist in reality should exist in his self created warped reality. He pretty much takes up the mantle of God. What we need to judge is whether all the characters follow the laws of the created world. But what we end up doing is questioning his judgment of laws he has built into to the movie like “Come on! There is no shit like Hogwarts or magic” or “What crap is this! A radioactive spider bit him and he gets super power instead of dying”. If you see things that way, you can never rightfully judge a film. It then boils down to the bias of the critic towards the film maker.

   Another point that I want to drive home is that reality is utterly boring. Come on! Think about it! Why would you want to live your day twice? That being set aside if people still want real films, “Nadunisi Naigal” is a good example for that. The film did not have any BG of any sort. That is pretty real, isn’t it? No one plays a music when you meet your love interest or plays the eerie violin when you are sad. Did you know, how the lack of BG made that film move at a snail pace apart from the freaky story of child abuse?

    Now hold that thought! Let us move on to the other vista of film making which many despise and think low of, the commercial movie. Why some people hate masala films? . A hero jumping over miles to hang by a train is what comes to my mind when I think of the laws of the world completely breaking down. That is a case where the film maker has failed to mold a character within the laws of his world. He never created a law that the protagonist was gifted with the special power of flight nor was he travelling via a cable towards the train.

   But then brushing things like that apart many people do enjoy masala films. They come to movie theatres to escape from reality and put themselves in the shoes of the protagonist and imagine doing stuff which they wouldn’t be able to do in real life. Those people just want films to be real, only to an extent that would allow themselves to connect to it. Looking down upon those kind of films and branding people who like them as non-intellectual is something I can never agree.

  Take MMKR or Vasool Raja for example, quadruplets really? really? MBBS? A fucking thug? Most of situations in that film hardly can ever happen and yet they are cult classics which everyone likes. It is not the realness which makes a film good but how well the film maker has created his world.

  People have turned more cynical, anything that is unlikely or rare is considered to be “Olu da machaan” or “Bakwas”. Do you know what the are odds of a sperm cell fertilizing the egg? What is the possibility of life in this universe? Yet we still reproduce. Yet there are life forms. But we always are cynical when the protagonist or the antagonist pulls off something unlikely.

  Be it a masala film or be it a non-masala film, everything has only that much reality built into them and only with varying degrees of it. The more you try to make the film real the more difficult it gets for you, to make it interesting. In my opinion there is no need for a film maker to depict reality as it is, it is just his version of reality and they are bad films only when the laws of its world contradict and break down.


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Thursday, September 1, 2011

Thala and Wall

2 blesses 'n' curses
After 22 years of my existence in this planet I finally got to watch a night show. Surprisingly my mom didn’t have an issue with it. One of my friends called and asked me if I would accompany him to Udhayam theatre for watching Mankatha-night show. Normally I would immediately refuse the offer if it read the word “night” But I just had a hunch and said a yes. I heard a lot of good things about the movie from a friend of mine who watched it earlier that morning and yet wasn’t that excited.

  The guy who accompanied me was a Vijay fan, needless to say the kind of things he said when we were about to enter the cinema hall. “Dei padam sumaar dhan da, IPL final la panam kolla adippan” The ticket we had for the movie were complimentary and we didn’t spend a single penny. Obviously I had nothing to loose not even sleep. It’s been so long since I slept before 2am.

  My idea of a night show all these years was that it would be deserted, people wont come with their families, posse of boys are the main audience, people turn up drunk, women folk shy away. After visiting one myself, I realized my version was similar to that version of a south Indian with an oiled hair, eating idly and sambar all time, thought off by the amits.

  I entered the hall and I saw a little girl pestering her father to buy the overpriced Ice cream at the theatre, which he was politely refusing. I was full of puppy shame ya! She was hardly 10 and she comes for a night show and I am 22 but this is my first! What life da this!

  They were showing all the documentaries and ads before the film and the audience were shouting “otha padatha podra! veetukku vera poganum” They finally started the movie with huge “THALAAAAA” roar from the audience. Mind you, this was at 10pm. The first few minutes of the film was absolutely inaudible. Literally everyone was shouting. They were shouting the most when Ajith was hurling abuses! The film was fantastic. Enjoyed it to the core. I absolutely enjoyed Ajith’s performance more so because his character was similar to my THALA CM Punk’s heel persona. Even my “Vijay fan” friend liked the film a lot.

  I just made up my mind that I will watch films in theatres in theatres like these, especially the mass movies. The big multiplexes suck! All of the audience are absolfuckingly sophisticated. But man! This experience is surreal. I wonder What if I had watched Endhiran in a theatre like this and not in that PVR with a lame audience. Damn I missed it!

  The show got over around 1am. I was worried how I would walk back to my place crossing all those pissed off dogs and possibly police who might ask who I was. The gate at my flats are usually closed around 11pm and I was way off and I had to jump over the wall. Jumping wall aint a problem for me, I can climb trees itself ya! But my apprehension was, what if a policeman going rounds sees me jump the wall and lock me up? I know I am insane.

  As I neared my place a dog was staring at me. Long before during my stay at my aunts place I realized you never stare back at a dog NEVER! I walked the opposite side and pretended as if the dog was invisible. I then found that the gates weren't locked. I made up my mind so much to jump the wall, I actually jumped over the wall when the gates were open. Thankfully no one saw it and I came back just in time to watch India lose to the snobs thanks to Samit Patel’s prostitute luck! I looked at the calendar and the date was September 1, just a day before my days of being vetti are over. Damn it is totally depressing! I will miss being vetti! YES I WILL!

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Saturday, August 20, 2011

Decoding the “Zha” code

5 blesses 'n' curses

Now many of you non-tams must have been dumbfound how to pronounce Azhagiri or KaniMozhi or Thamizh Nadu for that matter. I have heard some amit news anchors pronouncing them as Kanimoyi or even a Kanimozi with a literal “z” sound worth cringing my whole life. I feel like I want to put “dharbai” in their tongue and posikkify their mouth.

Before going into the step by step method to pronounce the letter “zha”. Zha represents the Thamizh letter  “ழ”. The sound of the letter and its variants are quite unique that only Thamizh and Malayalam have it.

Variants of Zha by vencurd

Those of non-tams who cant pronounce it, don’t worry! Even many Tams cant pronounce it. Many people substitute it with a “La” sound. A friend of mine from south of Tamil Nadu even claims that it is the right sound hahaha!

Don’t worry you are in safe hands! I will teach you how to pronounce a “Zha”. It’s closest equivalent is the American ‘r’ If you don’t find that good enough here’s a simple way.

Step 1: Imagine you have gobbled something really hot. Say, Vada Pav with two extra chillies

Step 2: If you do that I am 100% sure that the portion of gums above the middle of your tongue must have been roasted. It would have been so hot that it would have peeled off some skin. Imagine that.

Step 3: Now gently try to massage the roasted portion with the tip of your tongue and try saying “la” without touching the teeth.

Voila! You will end up saying a “zha” It is as simple that you know!

You have decoded the “zha” code if you can successfully do this.

Tongue twister by vencurd

I mastered this when I was a baby itself! Saraswathi wrote “zha” in my tongue. Please don’t ask me to show it okay!


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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A day well spent

4 blesses 'n' curses

    I keep telling this to all my friends. Let me without further ado say it here. I have seen more Chennai in the past four months than I ever did in my entire life before that. I’ve been travelling, travelling and travelling. It has been a welcome change to my “lock yourself up and meddle with your computer” lifestyle.

   We Friends decided to meet up and go somewhere, now that our results have been announced. We decided to meet up at ICAI and then head off to “Semmozhi Poonga” which is at a walk able distance from the institute and nearer to the Gemini Flyover. I went into the ICAI and was checking vacancies for Articleship Clerks, now that I have got through the 1st group of my IPCC . It’s funny I was eligible 2 times for doing my articleship. Once after my CPT in 07, which I opted out and now, which I have no option but to take.

   I was looking out for firms within my locality, that is West Mambalam, Ashok Nagar, T-Nagar and that belt. There was this Firm which offered to provide Laptop for every Articled Clerk who would work there, which obviously caught my fancy. I ended up taking up a lot of pictures, for change not me but the notice board and then we left for Semmozhi Poonga.

   I’ve been to this place a few times before but this one was special. Not that I met a soul mate or anything. Of course I am blessed with awesome friends wherever I go but not that. Yeah I manage to have fun at the places which you even wouldn’t know are places so not that either. What makes it special then? HELL YEAH! “The food” On the contrary to your belief this park has a small pond with ducks and swan, wonderful lawns, so many species of plants and trees (also their names in Thamizh), of course the “lovers” and the jobless and more than all of this a FOOD STALL WITH SANE PRICE, SELLING AT MRP. Now that’s something you rarely see it cinema halls, cricket stadiums, beaches etc. The Place is clean, well maintained, quite airy, shady and easily the best park in Chennai.

  The entry tickets cost a mere 5 rupees. I ruffled some feathers even before I entered the place. There were four of us, so I gave 20 to the person in charge. She refused to take a 10 rupees note.

“Sir Idhu sellathu, Kizhinjirukku”

I was livid because it just had a slight cut and was very OKAY.

“Idellan sellum! Lightah dhaan kizhinjirukku vaangikkonga! government dhaane aprm enna prechana”

She was obviously pissed off at me and said “Naanga kudutha vaangipeengala?” That is where I slipped in one of logical mokkais.

“Naanga vaangaama epdi madam unga kitta thara mudiyum”

Now coming back to the food. Sarvana Bhavan has opened a Fast Food Stall there. There is also a kwality walls stall and ice colas too! I just wanted to eat all the items put up on display at Saravana Bhavan but I settled for a pan pizza and a Kachori. The Pan Pizza was pure awesomness. Till date I believed that the best Kachori in Chennai was available at Viji Chaat in West Mambalam but today it changed my world upside down. I made a hole in the kachori poured the hot chutney, then the sweet chutney and enjoyed every bite. I just cant imagine how it would have tasted with the onions. Worth all the 15 rupees. This is my fucking “WHITE CASTLE” (You would understand that reference if you had watched Harold and Kumar go to white castle. So go watch improve your knowledge) It Just made my day and all the coming days which I will be visiting in the near future. Semmozhi Poonga is truly Semma poonga! This place just made me write again.

We then headed off to the thankfully crowd less Elliots Beach, had a frankie each, sat in the sand next to the waves, quarreled about various matters; I was outraging the public for littering and then we went back home to mark a day well spent. Only thing I was not satisfied with was the thing that I wasn’t able to eat bajji at the beach hahahaha.


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Sunday, March 6, 2011

My name is Venkatadri

15 blesses 'n' curses

Oh Yeah! If you didn’t know my full name, it is Venkatadri. Now let us rewind to the past, say August 31st 1989 7.08 pm. The baby Venk was born nameless. The Baby Venk’s dad decided to name him “Venkatadri” because he had a friend by that name who was polite, God fearing and wore a “Thirmann” (for you guys it is simply Naamam) in his forehead. Years passed and The Baby Venk soon became The kid Venk. The Kid Venk passed LKG with flying colors and he had to write his name on a cardboard hat. Every other kid just had to say the name and the teacher would spell it.

But The Venk had trouble brewing, the teacher asked “Come here, What’s your name?”

He never knew the eternal mantra “It doesnt matter what the name is” so he said, “My name is Venkatadri”

The teacher was quiet befuddled “Venkatachalam?!!”

The Kid Venk got pissed off “No miss! Venkatadri”

The clueless teacher replied “Do one thing child, let your mom write your name on it!”

The Kid Venk returned home and asked his mom “Amma spell my name” After some discussion with dad she said “V E N K A T A D R I” A naive Kid Venk asked “So these bunch of letters are my name?! Shouldn’t it be ‘D H R I’” The kid Venk’s mom got annoyed “Deii! Stop asking questions and write these letters on the hat” And that was how The Venk got enlightened of his name’s spelling at tender age!

Wherever The Venk went, new names got added to the list. On one fine day, to be precise, sports day, The Venk enrolled himself for a  running race. Yeah I caught your mind voice, leave the poor kid alone! It was 1st standard and I ran fast enough. Lets not get into the controversial result part and get to the enrolling.

The person who was writing down the names asked “what is your name?”

“VENKATADRI”

“What?! VENKATAGIRI?”

*When did D sound like G!* “No, Venkatadri! Shall i spell?”

“I dont have time for this, Venkatagri it is!”

  Holy Jesus! VENKATAGRI is even worse! If only, i was friends with @Cheese_charmer at that time, he would come up with something like What would you call if The Venk did agriculture? VenkatAGRICULTURE! The guy is a pucca wordplay addict I tell you!

  Every new person gets the first part of my name right “Venkat….” and then their brain numbs! ‘VenkatWHAT?”  Seriously they must have never heard Suprabatham, Kali kaalam! kali kaalam! And the trend continued till I switched schools from Alpha matriculation to GRT Mahalakshmi Vidyalaya. Every new teacher who came to my class asked my name and got owned! If i get a substitute teacher, I would be like “Oh! damn here we go again” . Sometimes it would be “Venkatachalam” or “Venkatachalapathy”, sometimes “Venkatesh”, sometimes “Venkatagiri”, sometimes “Venkata3” (Actually, which is much better!) but mostly it was “Venkatachalam” And oh yeah one creep called me “Venkatachari”

The number of times my name got confused decreased drastically when I switched school! But then a new thing clung on! Every time I say “I study at GRT Mahalakshmi Vidyalaya” they would go like, “GRT Thanga Maaligai?” Chuck that! I thought there could be no more addition to my mispronounced name list but my PT teachers thought differently!

There you go, my PT teacher Mrs Bhuvana “What is your name?”

“My name is Venkatadri”

“VenkataBADHRI?!”

Onion chutney on a paasi paruppu pongal! VENKATABADHRI?!!!! The annoying thing is, she kept on calling me that even after, me telling her umpteen number of times!

There you go again, my PT teacher Mr Sarathi “Adeiii! Tell your name I have to note it down for the for the T-shirt size!”

“Oh okay, Red house, size: XL and the name is Venkatadri”

“Okay VenkatRAJ I noted it down, come and take your shirt tomorrow”

I’ve never heard Venkatraj before in my life! I just giggled and went off the room! I became so paranoid, that when people ask my name for noting it down i used to spell them “V E N K A T A D R I” I never talked in class because the class leader would butcher by writing my name on the board.

But to my surprise, i didn’t have to repeat my name over and over again since college! May be the world started waking up to Suprabatham once again! I thought, why shouldn’t i tweak my own name. I realised that my name was infinitely tweakable.

Oh! You name yourself The Rock! I am The Venk. Oh! you’re John Cena! I am Venk Cena! Move over Undertaker; I am Venktaker! You dont call me Thayir Sadam, I am vencurd! My Micros SD car aint a memory card, it is “vencard” What if my sister marries and bears a child and what would it call me? Uncle! NO “Vencle!” I just kept on tweaking every other thing that i possibly can!

Just when I thought it was all over, IT begun! I went to The Indian Bank a few days back to take a DD! And you know how these guys at the Bank work! The guy asked me to sit down and told that he would call my name when he prints the DD, that too I was the only one he had to serve! That imbecile called me! “VENGADAGIREE” I guess this never ends! Ah! IT DOESNT MATTER MY NAME IS!


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