"Attention to health is life's greatest hindrance."
- Plato (427-347 B.C.)

"Plato was a bore."
- Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900)

"Nietzsche was stupid and abnormal."
- Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910)

"I'm not going to get into the ring with Tolstoy."
- Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961)

"Hemingway was a jerk."
- Harold Robbins
Hockey is the national game of India but
Cricket is the national game of the world. Mind it!

Thala Thala Thaan - Othukaren ;-)

Even after a super flop like Asal, that was a thorough comedy, Ajith can hold audiences captive. At the age of 40, he can look yummy, floor women with that smile and turn a lovable, droolworthy villain. Yes, I gushingly admit – “Thala Thala thaan!” (This may be a good ending line to this post, but I couldn’t wait that long!)

Mankatha, as you know, is all about a bad bad world. Yet you support the most villainous guy of ‘em all. I love movies that make me do that.

The sequences are carefully assembled, each one individually coated with masala, yet coming together in perfect sync – like a plateful of piping hot bajjis. Venkat Prabhu packs this 3 hour movie with non-stop entertainment. (Sivaji was also a similar attempt, but the bajjis failed to harmonize.)  

Let me give you a Bullet (;-) ) point review (in case I become too lazy to write in huge paras by the end of this):
            1.  .The movie is soaked in crime and murder, yet doesn’t take itself too seriously (which is good). There is ample comedy; even Ajith contributes to it during a drunken evening with Premji – one of the best parts of the movie. Even the serious stuff doesn’t put you in a dark mood – it is actually funny when Mahat is killed, thanks to Premji. The part where Thala envisions the murders has a touch of humour (though it is long winded).

      2.    The action sequences keep you hooked for their entirety. The bike that Ajith rides is “WoW! (I’m in a bike-crazy phase). Premji’s computer wizardry holds your interest too.

3.      3.     Arjun is an awesome addition. His charisma and casually stylish performance is as good as Ajith’s. Needless to say, Action King and Ultimate Star offered double delight.

4.       4. About the gang of guys – the young bad cop, Ashwini Kakumanu (I got it right!) is cute J. Premji’s hairstyle (curly hell) can be forgiven only because he is supposed to be an IIT grad (isn’t he too old for that?). Among the heroines, Trisha gets decent screen space considering Mankatha is an out-and-out guy movie. Lakshmi Rai looks pretty, has got nice height, but her weight (around the waistline) is a bit too much.

5.       The songs are nice – to me, they’re more fun to watch than listen. The Ajit-Trisha song, though visually unique, feels a tad too long.

Mankatha entertained me like no Shankar film has done in recent years (In fact, while watching Enthiran, I wanted to walk out halfway). The Movie of the Year and a sumptuous entertainment feast. What are you waiting for? Go watch it!

Splash - A Review

There were three reasons why I wanted to watch Splash – the movie starred Tom Hanks, it was about a mermaid and it was really popular. Then I grew up and decided it would be a frothy teen romance. Then I watched a Daryl Hannah movie, Reckless and liked her – I guess, primarily because she is really tall, like me :-D (also one of the reasons I like Ingrid Bergman – and she was a natural beauty). Coming back to Daryl Hannah, I like her face too, which makes her seem different from many blonde actresses. I finally gave in to temptation and downloaded Splash. And had a pretty good time watching it.

I’m bored of writing in long paragraphs, so I’ll simply put down my review in points:

  • Tom Hanks is cute, but I don’t like his unruly, puffy hair in the movie
  • Daryl Hannah’s ‘natural’ hairstyle, though unruly, makes her look angelic
  • The movie has its genuinely funny moments, like Daryl Hannah uttering her name in extreme-decibel Mermaid language and shattering TV screens
  • And Hannah eating lobster like a cannibal
  • Daryl Hannah doesn’t hesitate to walk naked on the beach, or into Liberty Square
  • Too many kisses between Hannah and Hanks (I’ve grown up)
  • It’s a sweet, though not mushy and diabetic romance. That is nice.
  • The guy appearing as Tom Hanks’ brother in the movie provides good entertainment
  • The movie got 96% on Rotten Tomatoes

Overall, it is a nice, lighthearted movie to watch on a weekend evening. If you are afraid of soppy romances for teenagers, this movie is a much safer option; even if you are a grownup (like me). So, download and enjoy!


A journey to the edge of Chennai. And back.

This is a long overdue post. My friend S took me with her to Tiruvottiyur, to visit the Royal Enfield factory nearly a year back. And while I was excited even by the thought of Bullets being made, there was much more to this trip that made it a truly unusual experience.

To start with, the day greeted Chennai with a really heavy downpour. First my area received it and I was feeling down in the dumps. When I called my friend, it had just started raining in her area; but fortunately it stopped soon. I took my bike and made it over to her place. Coincidentally, both of us were wearing purple t-shirts. Looking back, I think the purple matched beautifully with the violet skies and verdant green leaves shimmering with raindrops. Post-rain surroundings were pleasant. We boarded a bus and began the day.

We took two buses, the second of which revealed North Chennai in its yucky yet intriguing rainy day avatar (I think there was frequent light rain). We went through some places I’d only heard about (Kasimedu – one of the scariest localities in Chennai, as hyped by movies and media – a fishing village where perhaps rowdies may harm you with knives used to cut sharks). We also passed the harbor (awesome!!) and even Tollgate (was surprised to know Tiruvottiyur is SOOOO far).

Finally we reached TIruvottiyur Main Road (which was a lake, since the median was way too high, long and super sturdy) and got off at the main bus stop. S’s friend had come to pick us up in his comforting car. We found that Royal Enfield was right on this road. We spotted it and did a U-Turn.

Then came the first adventure of the day. We had to enter through a lane that was not really a lane. It had little lakes (huuggge puddles) which were extremely muddy and slushy, so muddy that it must’ve been a major endeavor for S’s friend to navigate them (and an adventure for me – I love these things, like not knowing when you’ll get stuck where, and how long it’ll take to get out. Sorry, S’s friend!)

Royal Enfield was of course fascinating. The bikes are completely hand assembled and designs on tanks are painted by hand. We watched every step of the manufacturing process and it was very interesting. We even watched them test the speed of the bikes. I also imagined owning a bright yellow Bullet but didn’t dare open my mouth.

Then we headed to the Tiruvottiyur seafront. It felt like the edge of the world, because the road just curved out (couldn’t see where it was headed) along an expansive seascape. While S & her friend took a walk along a long rocky pier, I stayed on the shore, capturing crows from a short distance. They made a beautiful picture, set against the azure duo of the sky and sea.

After that we went to S's home, through that road, the WagonR feeling like a Hot Wheels car, sandwiched between numerous container trucks in lanes on either side (as in the only two legal lanes). We had lunch at S's friend's house. As I discovered, there was much more fun waiting for us. The power was out and we had lunch by candlelight, but that was a lovely experience. The house was huge and airy and it created a beautiful atmosphere for a candlelit lunch.

S’s friend had a 6 month baby and it was so wonderful to spend time with him. I was lucky enough to have him on my lap for a few minutes when I sat and stared out at nothing. It is amazingly peaceful to hold a baby on your lap, even when both of you are quiet; that it was on a rainy day, on a balcony, made it all the more beautiful. We conversed in unspoken words and enjoyed blissful contentment, that can only be shared with a baby.

There was much more fun waiting for me. S's friend had 2 dogs – a chocolate Doberman and an Australian mastiff breed (they weren’t friendly though – at least you can’t expect that from a Doberman). Downstairs there were more delights – a turkey and a parakeet (make one of them plural). I clicked pictures of all the pets. And had a fabulous time.

Then we had to head back to the bus stand; but the adventure wasn’t over yet. We went through a completely flooded street (was an interesting experience). We reached the bus stand, got into the bus and waited for it to leave. Then I spotted a calf that was waiting outside the bus. I went and petted the cute creature (for the first time in my life – I can’t believe that).

We went back to the noisy part of Chennai (passing the lovely harbor) and reached Teynampet (where we parted) pretty much early – by 6. We were back to everyday life. The awesomely unusual day came to an end as S & I said our byes; but it is a day I won’t forget in a long time, which is why I managed to recollect everything nearly one year later (writing this blog post has made me really happy – and ready to explore another unique destination in Namma Chennai!).

South Indian Heaven at Saravana Bhavan

On Saturday, I had a late lunch after a tiring morning, at good old Saravana Bhavan in T.Nagar. Long back, on a temple trip, I had Tamil Nadu meals on a proper, huge banana leaf at Saravana Bhavan, Kancheepuram. That was a fantastic meal – a delicious break in a strenuous journey.

Coming back to Saturday – the meal was on a steel plate layered with banana leaf (makes the meal less messy) and came with little cups of the most familiar delicacies. I arranged the sambar, rasam, potato fry, paruppu thovaiyal, kootu, vathal kuzhambu, beetroot payasam ;-) (more like syrup), pickle, curd and buttermilk around my plate. The appalam proudly wore a cloak of oil, yet managed to look innocent.    

The sambar had a big drumstick piece and radish slices occupying most of the cup, so I decided to start with the rasam. It was simply delicious, with a tinge of sweetness. The spicy potato fry, laced with garlic complemented it perfectly. My father later told me that it was pineapple rasam. From that moment I became a fan.

I was so hungry that I tried out everything that looked interesting – I had kootu and thuvaiyal saadham. The thuvaiyal was tasty but not really ideal for saadham. My Mom said the pickle was very good, but by then I had become full. I plopped the curd onto my plate and ate it plain. It was yummy. I followed it up with the buttermilk.

The vathal kuzhambu and sambar were left over. I wished I’d tried vathal kuzhambu instead of thuvaiyal; but next time I will definitely try it :-).

As a conclusion, when you want a good old South Indian meal that is sure to make you go “Besh Besh” from the bottom of your heart, head to Saravana Bhavan. Skip your fork routine once in a while and enjoy the flavours & satisfaction that only a South Indian-style meal can offer.

An Adventure in Ambattur

I had to attend the wedding reception of one of my best friends, in Ambattur, on a Sunday evening. The place is pretty far away, but my friend suggested that I go to Tambaram and take the Chennai Bypass, which is an excellent road, yet has other drawbacks, as I found out. My father said it would still be a really long route. So we went via Kathipara and Porur, joining Chennai Bypass after Porur.

Then the adventure began. Country music playing on the stereo, we zoomed down the elevated Chennai Bypass. At one point there was a board indicating that Ambattur was straight ahead, but no, we didn’t find it. A short distance later, there was a lane to the left, with no indication of any place on the direction board. It was better to overshoot a place than head into nowhere, so we soared past it.

A brightly lit Toyota signboard flashed passed and several factories followed. We shot over a busy road as well, and then our doubts were confirmed. We had crossed Ambattur and a signboard said – Puzhal, 5 km. We couldn’t even get off the elevated road and it was quite some time before we even found a U-Turn. So we turned back, looking for the nearest left. There was a faint signboard (not easily visible in the dark) that said something. We were going so fast that we zoomed a little past that, so we reversed, noticed it was indeed Ambattur, and took the right, which was a two-lane road. After going straight down, we found a left and asked for directions. The guy asked us to take a right in the opposite side. We found ourselves in a long corridor barely enough to fit a truck, with huge fat pillars on one side. It was exciting though, like entering a long dark cave. However, if we hadn’t reversed, it would’ve taken us to the Toyota factory. We weren’t planning to buy one of those cars.

There was another left turn, but a gaping hole flanked by bumpy two-wheeler unfriendly paths (and deadly for cars) welcomed us. Then someone asked us to take a “Power Lane” that was close to that. We took it, hoping to find Market Road soon.

Two large cows silently said “Welcome to Ambattur” by blocking our car. They were pretty cute though, and I pulled out my camera phone to capture them, but my Dad asked me to resist the urge, and honked the horn. They gave way and we went ahead, only to discover a unique path / subway / whatever it was – which was just enough for one car the size of ours. Two guys who were walking down it flattened themselves against the wall.

We asked more people for directions and finally found Market Road, which was near the Old Terminus. Finally there were some signs of city life. I spotted Sri Srinivasa, who had daringly advertised their sweets on a black background, in Metroplus. This place had big signboards announcing “Cakes”, “Softy Ice Creams” and other varieties, but I wasn’t sure I’d go for them.

We passed some textile, jewellery and electronics shops – it was fun to observe signs of life after exploring the middle of nowhere. After that it was easy to locate the wedding hall. We found that we were one of the early guests. So I was able to talk more to my friend and introduce myself to his wife properly, meet his relatives, to whom I was a familiar name. People were staring at me, a Mami smiled at me sweetly – the tall young girl in the silk sari, the only tall girl in fact, so I enjoyed the bit of attention I got. I hogged food, gave my byes and wishes to my dear friend and his wife & left.

The route home was decent – via Porur, Koyambedu, Vadapalani and Guindy. In fact, the traffic was lesser than usual, overall, because it was a Sunday evening. And the trip was quite exciting – imagine going for a reception and getting the road trip you had always yearned for, with beautiful country music and Western classical playing in the background! I am the kind of person who enjoys this stuff (also because I am not driving). I like crazy situations where I don’t know where exactly the car is going (like in an earlier trip to Royal Enfield in Tiruvottiyur, on a rainy and messy day). I long for more of these, but I guess their beauty lies in the fact that they are rare.

Thank you, dear friend N, for having your reception so far away, inviting me, making me enjoy the adventure and write this post J