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Sunday, January 29, 2006



he.. he... learnt these things to greet our neighbours.

'Wish you a happy Chinese New year'

The Dog year has come... So, let us welcome, even if it is the second day of the new year....

Some more info here....

249th post

Friday, January 27, 2006

Will it be a fresh Vijay, after the break?

Guys.. this is not an anti-Vijay post... So, pl. read it from that perspective :-) :-)

Finally, the hot star of 2005 has taken a break..

A Well deserved one, from his & his family's point of view. May be, for his fans this may be a surprising news since he was continuously feeding them with movies in the last 1 year plus. From my point of view, I already felt that the numbers which he did was too much.

5 movies in a gap of 15 months..with a super hero status. Seems to be incredible.

However, considering his previous years runs, I would expect him to be cautious in future. He might have thought to reap the benefits when the wind blows on his side. He might have decided to churn out so many commercial movies continuously, due to intense competition for the top slots. Inspite of those numbers, he was able to give two super hits, one confirmed average, another seeming to be an average and the left alone survived due to his cameo role.

Need to agree that he has worked hard, to gain the current stardom which he is holding. At his age of 30 plus, his urge to give more hits are understandable. 5 songs (with one Item number) + 4 fights + some 'Ennanganna...' dialogues, may do that trick for sometime. I believe the fans like that part of Vijay very much. Will it continue?

I feel that he needs to change his strategy now. We don't want Satyaraj style of movies from Vijay. He can possibly reduce the numbers per year, which may raise expectations among the audience. The industry's bet on his movies are very high at Rs.20 crores plus level. So, if some of the movies flop, it would affect his subsequent movies trade.

A decade back, when Gautami did 12 movies in a year or when Rama Narayanan directed 12 movies in a year [real fact, folks...] people accepted them. However, nowadays people are observing so much of cine-data disseminated thru media. So, they really keep track of the performance. Probably, after sometime, the result may be felt - in terms of their acceptance of his movies.

Let us check out the list of the movies which he churned out in the last few years..

Aathi / Sivakasi / Sachein / Sukran
Thirupaachi / Madurae / Ghillie / Udhaya
Thirumalai / Pudhiya Geethai / Vaseegara / Bhagavathi
Youth / Thamizhan / Shaajahan / Badri

Honestly speaking, I have seen only 'Vaseegara' (accidentally), 'Sachein' (expectations were high due to John Mahendra direction) & and the real super-hit Dharani's 'Ghillie'.


May be, I could sense what his film contents were... due to which I am trying to avoid. I accept that he is not doing movies for audience like me. But, soon more may turn out to be like me.

Now much awaited, SJ.Suryah's 'Puli' has also been dropped. So, a chance of getting another refreshing (!!) movie has been scrapped. At the same time, you could have observed these rumours that Gautam Menon may direct Vijay & Vikram together. If it works out, it may be a different movie. But, it is unlikely to happen immediately since Gautam has to finish Kamal's 'V..V..'. first.

Prior to that, Vijay may accept another masala movie with a young new chap, who may have ready scripts to suit his star status of today. In that case, I feel those scripts would be most likely in the same line as the last few predictable action movies of him.

Let's hope his upcoming movies this year and following years keep him as one among the top heroes. He needs to consolidate his top slot with some better movies to name and not in numbers.

Normally, Vijay tries different combination of heroines & directors for most of his movies. This time, I hope he would add some "interesting story content" also as a variable to that equation...
248th post

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

As usual, Hectic.. bear with my absence

My aggressiveness has come down... Still, finding out the reason.

Not sure..

May be I am unable to find time. Too much of work to do.. Too much of Tennis. I mean, Australian Open. It was an awesome QF match yesterday between Cypriot Baghdatis & Croatian Ivan Ljubicic which was won by the former eventually.

Anyhow, thanks for those who reminded me of this entertainment.. I mean, blogging. Will join you folks in the next few days, for continuous blogging like before. Other priorities are pushing this blogging, two steps down. That's the reason.
247th post

Friday, January 13, 2006

பால் பொங்கியாச்சா?

பால் பொங்கியாச்சா?

When we were kids, We used ask the above among our relatives and neighbours when we meet on the Pongal day. We asked even today. Same question to you.... :-)

Those days are still memorable... Traditionally, we know, people prepare pongal in a mud pot under the sun, as in Villages even nowdays. However, my mom used to cook Pongal under the sun, but in silverwares. The event of the day, used to be a tough competition to finish off the entire sugarcane first.

Time has changed now, due to modern flat culture everywhere. Pongal on gas stoves...

Eventhough, most of us miss those traditional scenario, I'm still happy that the momentum is kept alive. Thru TV reminders. Shopping in Little India and a some-what traditional Pongal cooking. Better than, the Pongal cooked in the rice-cooker...


அனைவருக்கும் தமிழர்த் திருநாள் வாழ்த்துக்கள்.....
246th post

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Can a Cave lure you so much?

Yes, it can...

For a long time, we wanted to explore something unique in India.

After visiting couple of exotic overseas locations, we wanted to give a try in India this time....

Several destinations were considered, including Amritsar. Finally, we zeroed in on Ellora & Ajanta. One of the main reasons, is my Son's newly developed interests in visiting those places which he is studying currently. Both the places are located near Aurangabad.

So, we started our enquiries with several agents in Vashi (Navi Mumbai) area and everybody offered the same tour arrangement.. 3 days - including one free day in Aurangabad. Since, we were not impressed with the tourist attractions in the city - we wanted to avoid the free day and pack it in two days.

Finally, one guy accepted.. but the figures overshot the budget. So, we decided to hire a Toyota Qualis - to accomodate more people. The additional info which we got during our Agent hunt - helped us to schedule it in a better way [the info that, Ajanta is closed on Monday and Ellora is closed on Tuesday].

6 hours trip to Aurangabad (400 kms) in a Qualis, with kids was really tiresome. Even then, without even entering the city, we landed at Ellora - which is 30kms away from Aurangabad.

Basically, sculptures of 3 different religions were present there - Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism - all dated back to 6th century AD to 11th century AD. Compared to Ajantha caves, Ellora was never considered 'lost', due to its proximity to Aurangabad city. It seemed to have been visited by travellers, Geographers, Archeologists frequently. Still, they are protected very well.

Out of 34 caves, 12 are Buddhist, 17 Hindu and 5 Jain caves. Most of the caves resembled either temples or monasteries.

This was the first one (Cave no.12) which we visited among the Buddisht caves. Nicely carved three floors with traditional stairs, made us to wonder.... about the efforts gone behind that Marvellous structure.

Buddhas sitting in a row...

Closer view of another Buddha, in the next cave..

Front entrance of the next Buddhist cave

Initially, this reminded me of a dining hall - due to these built-in rows. Later, I realised that this is a learning centre and students used to sit and learn things here....

After this cave, we visited couple of more Buddhist caves, which are not claimed to be exceptional.

Then we landed at Hindu cave no.16 - which housed a traditional Hindu temple of a huge Shivalingam [Kailasa temple]. There were more sculptures carved around this temple, including.....

Sri Meenakshi-Sundareshwarar ThiruKalyanam

Narasimha avatharam and the incarnation's fulfillment

a traditional pillar

Ramayana Epic

Later we visited the Jain cave no.32, which is also called as Indrasabha... Immediately after seeing Mahaveer's posture, my son and my niece started questioning the posture without dress. I started explaining the spiritual reasons of foregoing all the materialisitic interests and Penance. I hope that they understood a bit.

After our return to Aurangabad in the dark evening, we visited Bibi-Ka-Maqbara (the clone of Taj Mahal). Built by Aurangazeb's son for his mother, it remained unimpressive to me, since I had visited Taj mahal earlier. Since it was dark at that time, I couldn't capture the Building very well in my digicam.

Next day, we started our visit to Ajanta.. which was 100kms plus away from the city.

It seems Ajanta caves were carved by Buddhist monks who themselves painted so many wonderful pictures. They had aptly selected the mountain near the Waghora river which should have flown vigourously in those days. The oldest cave are dated back to 200 BC and the latest being 15 centuries back.

The caves seemed to have been discovered back only 2 centuries ago, during a British hunting party. In 1819, the officers who stumbled upon this horse-shoe shaped cliff, had discovered the painstaking efforts of Buddhist monks of those earlier centuries. Since the religion lost it significance thereafter, these carvings also seemed to have been forgotten, before they were found again.

I need to really appreciate the Tourism board's idea to stop the tourists 4 kms away from the caves. All the tourist vehicles were stopped down the hill and we were taken by Maharastra tourism board's bus to the location [No shops as well, near the spot]. I felt that it will definitely protect the surroundings - unlike Ellora, where we can park our vehicles closer to the caves.

It seemed to me that the monks built them near the river, for their prayers and learning, without disturbances from the city life.

Two different schools of Buddhist thoughts (Hinayana & Mahayana) were said to be behind these marvellous works. The older Hinayana school's thoughts were that the Buddha was represented only in symbols like the stupa, a set of footprints or a throne. However, the later Mahayana school had given the Lord a human face. The paintings and sculptures talk about Buddha's lives in his previous births and the related Jataka tales. We could observe several scenes thru the paintings.

the dried up river....

This is the famous picture of 'Boddhistiva Vajrapani'

Eventhough couple of websites claim the paintings to be Fresco paintings, certain tourist guide books published and circulated near this place - claim them to be 'Tempera' and not 'Fresco' technically. The artists claimed to have extracted all the colors from minerals.

Flash photographs are prohibited inside the major caves to protect the life of the paintings and sculptures. However, certain Hi-tech cameras set in 'Auto' mode flashed automatically during our visit, which infuriated the guards. One of them literally snatched a tourist's camera.

An Unique Sthupa inside a cave temple..

And finally, the entrance of a Cave temple... which resembled a Hindu temple.

At the end of the trip, had an wonderful feeling within me and was proud that India has so many exotic places created 2 millenium back. Still to cover a lot more....

After this trip, I really missed the Elephanta caves near Mumbai.. which I should have visited during my stay there (but, couldn't make it). Not sure, when I am going to visit it next....
245th post

Sunday, January 08, 2006

அள்ளித் தரும் ம(இய)ந்திரம்

Just try to write the above in English....

Allith Tharum Ma(Ye)ndhiram.... or Allith Tharum Machine....

Aren't we getting ATM?

That's the literal meaning which my son perceived for ATMs, when I accessed them in India for my requirements. Eventhough he had accompanied me to ATMs in Singapore, he had never raised any queries earlier. This time in India, he exclaimed "Wow! how are you getting free cash from ATM, Dad? It is very good, isn't it?". Probably, he would have expressed that way due to the denomination of notes, which I might have withdrawn. For him, drawing 1000Rs. seemed to be greater than 40S$.

The same way, when he wanted to buy something which I refused, he would suggest me to use the credit card. His impression was that if we don't want to spend money, we can use Card and escape(!!). ['So, what if it is expensive, you can pay by card, isn't it?']

Since we have never got replies to this sort of queries from our parents, it took some time for me to explain the banking functions... I hope he realised the facts, that its our own money.

But, still it would be wonderful.. if someone pays for your spending, isn't it? That would be a fantasy dream, which I may want to be fulfilled (after totalling up my shopping bills)... :-( :-(
244th post

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

A Trip to Maha......... gani

Wish you all a very Happy new year, friends..... before I step into the first post for this year.


Situated in the heart Of Sahyadri Hills in Satara District, Maharashtra. It is also known as 'Queen of all Hill Stations'.

We were dropped there at around 5 AM in the dark, amidst a shivering weather. Due to the weather, we got out of the hotel only in the late morning -- after ensuring that the sun was over our head. The environment was more or less similar to Ooty / Yercaud.

The strawberry vendor....
The market place...
Naive(!!) villagers...

The market place reminded me of Madurai old markets and my grandma's village markets. Something similar to a Bharathiraja movie too....

The same day evening, we had an interesting trip to Tapola, which is also called Mini Kashmir. I haven't yet visited Kashmir.. so "no comments" on this so-called name.

Still, the time we had in the backwaters of Koyna dam, was excellent. We had a boat ride there which is said to be of 250 ft deep.. Don't ask me, how I felt while I was sitting on the waters.

Next day we went to Panchgani, where Aamir Khan & Kiran Rao hosted their wedding party recently. Unfortunately, we were not invited, similar to the other non-invitees Shah Rukh Khan/Salman Khan / Karan Johar etc. So, I couldn't extend my stay there at Panchgani. :-( :-(

Panchgani - derives its name from the five plateaus/hills surrounding the village. One of the plateau - "Table Land" is said to be one of the largest plateau in Asia. I could realise that when I observed several budding cricketers playing in a group of several teams. We were told that a small plane can land there easily...

One of these kids may be a future celebrity kid. Reason... this village houses several celebrity schools, where film stars and famous personalities' kids are studying. [Courtesy: Britishers, similar to Ooty concept]

Seems, several hindi movies have captured these locations earlier.. including Aamir Khan's 'Raja Hindustani'. Hmmmm.. now I could understand his passion towards this place.

Was able to capture some of our ancestors' family members. Too much of concentration to her kid.

Next day, we went around Mahabaleshwar.. few temples and several viewpoints, named after Britishers like Wilson point, Connaught Peak, Arthur's seat, Elphinston point etc., in addition to one Indianized Savitri point.
Had a beautiful view of the valley and the surrounding hills.

On the top of one of the hills, tourists are being attracted towards a "tap" of spring water. It has been named as "Tiger Springs", since they were supposed to attract so many tigers in olden days!!!

Another attraction of my favour was the nicely burnt corns.. reason.. the chilli powder spread over them using a lemon... I heard that, in Chennai also, these type of corns are being served with lemon / chilli quoting.


It should have been an enjoyable trip. However, we were tensed a bit on the last day, since my son was sick of vomitting & diarrhea (due to food poisoning). Eventhough we were suggested to admit him in a local Govt. hospital, help came thru a privately practising experienced doctor. He arrested the problem with an injection...

Another interesting but usual thing, which we observed was too many newly married couples.....

One more Interesting Trip is pending to be posted... will make it asap!!! Currently too busy in clearing my mails.

Tourist attractions of Mahabaleshwar - Link-1
Tourist attractions of Mahabaleshwar - Link-2
243rd post