Happy Birthday Madras!

The streets of Chennai

It has been almost 4 years with this city. During school days many would have visited this place for short stints mostly for annual vacations year after year. Theme parks always give the feel ‘Once more polama’ in childhood days. For few, this place is ‘Porandham’ call it ‘Porandha veedu’. For few ‘Pukkam’ also known as ‘Pugundha veedu’ in literal sense. But for many of us it is the first ‘Office Veedu’ before anything. When it rains, yes drainage system is bad; traffic is mounting day by day for no particular reason. But the city is beautiful in many ways.

Starting with ECR, One of the awesome roads to ride all the way accompanied by the sea shore and trees from Pondy. Long back Pallavas seem to have given importance for sculptures and now slowly being replaced by resorts and villas but Mahabalipuram is always beautiful now and ever. Dakshin Chirta, Matsya Narayana Temple, ISKCON, Sai Baba temple, sea shores and what not to visit for calmness and serenity? Layer by layer, inch by inch the city is beautiful and springs into action every day.

Then OMR. If given a chance to write an English Exam with a question ‘Give an example for an oxymoron.’ It will be Old Mahabalipuram Road. You absolutely don’t give out secured vibrations despite all luxuries around. But you teach how to be alone without feeling lonely; by teaching through loneliness. You are absolutely an encyclopedia of it with few awesome Pani Puri stalls, petty Juice and tea shops. The insecurities of yours are really loud but the confidence you give is really silent but breathtaking.

The Air force base and the practice they do daily  in planes with twinkling lights is a treat to watch around 9 at night. So is their occasional paragliding. The Pallikaranai, Marshy lands perfect spot for photography and could be bountiful if nurtured well on both ‘Chennai one’ and ‘Medavakkam road’ side. So is Nanmangalam reserve area, IIT M campus, numerous lakes and small hills around the city. Awesome express ways, long connecting bridges to commute making the city well connected.

Many areas which are TRADITIONALLY TRENDY, just like the tag line of ‘Rangachari Cloth Store’. Be it Mylapore; with divine vibes on one side, Rose milk waiting on the other. One might even miss Navrathri back home but can be completely satisfied walking around the tank.

So is Nanganallur, the little Kanchi Puram, especially the 4th Main street Ardhanareshwarar temple premises and the liveliness the surroundings have. Not to forget Triplicane – the lord with white moustache, Besant Nagar temples, Eliot’s beach, Marina, Egmore Connemara Library, many museums, the awesome December music festival are to be treasured.

For shopping; T Nagar, Pondy Bazzar, Sowcarpet, Pantheon Road, etc and each of these places having special locations to treat taste buds like Mint street’s numerous chat shops, coffee shops, ‘New Woodlands – Rasa Idly’ (one in Dr. Radha Krishnan Salai).

Each street, each temple in the city tells beautiful and phenomenal stories. For each area there is a history to know, temples, memorials to visit, Sathyam Theater Popcorn, many other theaters, Nehru Stadium, The Chepauk, of course places to dine in. Well connected by MTC, MRTS, Metro, Electric trains. In short, all places on Google maps of Chennai has a story to tell and can be enjoyed thoroughly just to write essays on each place without leaving even a single bus route.

Single post is a speck of dust, absolutely doing injustice to the places, streets to be visited in Madras and places which are ‘Chennai ku miga arugil’.

Happy Birthday Madras!


The Standard Conditions of Temperature and Pressure

There are few situations that are repeatedly observed these days. All related to people management and how people perceive things as per their own wish and understand the so called ‘rule book’ with their view and try to apply it to all for all conditions.

The first one, to put in a better way, to start with the famous personality, the very embodiment of ‘Idhaya Surangathul Yethanai Kelvi’ personality; the person who is always concerned about what and how things are happening in other people’s life. Many girls should have faced this. Especially, Single Child, mostly a girl or all only girl children family. The question they ask is “You are only child. What your parents are going to do after your marriage? Paavam”, “How this situation is going to be managed?”, “It is not good for your parents to live along with you after marriage”.

Seems the person didn’t get to see many broad minded people out there. Marriage is not the end of a journey but is a part of this beautiful journey. The current generation sees this with a better outlook just that being vulnerable is bit of a hindrance which has to be worked on. Guys and girls are matured enough to understand that both side parents are equally important. Yes, it is not good for anyone to keep ‘Sammandhis’ in the same house forever. Simply for the reason is that both sides’ freedom and individuality might crumble and the respect may be lost and no two matured personalities in this world would try to hamper another person’s peace and freedom. It is absolutely okay to have them nearby and many guys, in laws do understand this aspect.

Most of the time staying away at a distance saves any relationship rather staying close and fighting always. The point to be wondered is, the person who asks such questions has a daughter and a son both settled in abroad and they aren’t planning to return to India. At least single child who is residing with in India is just a call away, just few hours of travel away. In what way Single Child Parents are really Paavam? and in what way having two children and both in foreign is Punniyam? is still a million dollar question.

The second personality is a warming personality. An elderly man, ever smiling gentle man and all his children are settled in foreign. He used to come to park for walking and always share his experiences in a lovely manner. He keeps himself engaged after his retirement and ‘Take each day and get busy’ is his motive. He has never lost his smile to my knowledge but was sad the day his son called him and said to move with him. The elderly man has already been there for short stints and has felt that the surroundings are not comfortable for him and his wife and they feel like they are going to hostel rather a home.

Though he has his grandchildren there, he claims that they are in crèche and he has nothing to do productive there. He is happy and contented spending time in going to library, reading books and going to temple along with his wife and in later stage of their life it is okay for them to join an old age home rather going abroad.  He tells, “My son fears that people will tell that his son is not taking care of them and hence are in old age home. But for me going to abroad feels like being in old age home and staying anywhere in India is like being in my home”. Here, the question arises. What is freedom?

The thoughts seemed never ending and suddenly this stuck. One of our professors used to call for discussion after distributing answer sheets after every mid-term test and can freely discuss with him on all aspects ‘Why he hasn’t given marks for a particular question?’, ‘Areas of improvement’, ‘Areas of expertise’ and all. In one such discussion happened to ask him why he has not awarded full marks for a two mark question but had given a 0. The question was to write the definition of ‘Instantaneous reaction’ with an example. He smiled and asked to find the reason for the same. And it never stuck. He went on to explain that I haven’t mentioned the term ‘Standard Temperature and Pressure’.

He said,” To you it may seem baseless now but it has its own value”. He stated that “While conducting experiments it is not mandatory to conduct in the way stated in rule book. I may conduct the experiment in minus one degree Centigrade and the reaction will not be instantaneous that time. So it is not about the rules. It is about the condition in which you conduct the experiment and one is obliged to mention the temperature and pressure the experiment is held and based on the conditions should analyze the results. When you don’t mention the conditions of experiment it is hard to analyze the results. It is for science. It does suit well for life too. Your Standard Temperature and Pressure need not suit mine but should respect that to know in how many ways better results can be achieved.” Makes perfect sense anytime!

The standard conditions of temperature and pressure isn’t a rule book and there are always exceptions and sufficient freedom to conduct experiments in any conditions without hampering another person’s peace for no reason, can definitely be extrapolated to get better results and can be followed if it brings peace to both parties.

P.S. For any third party, before questioning, it is good to know under what conditions the experiment is conducted rather just arguing from the point of rule book all the time and it is equally important to know one isn’t obliged to give an explanation all the time.

A Tale of Queries

Once upon a time there lived Neha Mami. Nay. Lived, lives, living. Why the name Neha Mami? Thenmozhi, Kanimozhi lam vaaika varappula irukanum nu illa, same to Neha. Thenmozhi, Kanimozhi or Neha all likely to become old sometime in life. Purinjavanga Pistha. So what Neha Mami does?
She has a gun loaded with tracer bullets of questions. One can easily spot Neha Mami in marriages. She catches hold of any girl in marriage age or even less than that and asks “Unaku innum kalyanam aagala la?”. Sometimes if the girl had said no to the guy she had introduced to her parents, she spots the girl in next wedding or sometime sooner; Neha Mami shouts, “Naan sonna paiyanuku Vera super ponnoda kalyanam aagiduthu. Nee miss panninta Green card holder ah kalyanam pannikardha.” Enough said on the mind voices of girls on this aspect. But Neha Mami isn’t bored. She tells “Next un kalyanam ah dhan irukanum. Seekarama kalyana saapadu podu seriya. Kaala kaalathula nadakanum kalyanam lam. Illa unaku hostel la iruka pudichuruka? Enna yosichundae iruka paesama?”. Even if marriage is fixed, she is someone who is going to spot flaws with the bride or the groom.
Next she moves to the bride, ie the current wedding heroine. She tells loudly doing the fake dhirushti kazhiching action, “10 maasathula oru peran varanum. Aduthu un seemandhathula pakkanum.” In the coming months or weeks when Neha Mami spots the newly wedded bride she asks, “Edhavadhu Vishesham unda?”. If no, she shoots out the next question. “En ma? Evalo late aaradhu?” Where it could be actually just 3 months. If yes, then also she may not leave, she raises her eyebrows. “Avalo seekarama? Un vayasu pengal lam ipo late ah dhana plan pandra? Veedu lam vangitu aparam yosichurukalamae?”. And the tale of questions will not be ending that soon. It just passes and keep going…
One can easily ignore these. Once or twice for sure. But she stands invincible. She is the embodiment of ‘Idhaya Surangathul yethanai kelvi’. Every person on this earth has hell lot of questions hidden deep in their hearts. Does speaking about the invincible Neha Mami on Facebook means one doesn’t respect her or one is against the right to question others or is an act of disrespecting elders?
The answer is no. Her intentions don’t sound from the point of genuine concern. So the kind of effect she leaves behind is also equally disastrous. She wants to make others feel the pain by questioning the uncertainty and instil fears in the mind of people even though they are healthy.
Happened to meet an elderly man some time back in a Pooja. The Pooja was scheduled to happen for 3 days. Many people before leaving the hall exchanged pleasantries with usual words “Poitu varen”. “Naalaiku pakkalam”. This man stated. “Pozhachu kidandha pakkalam”. The instant reaction was “what? Is he suffering from terminal illness?”. Having read the questions on faces he went on to explain. He confirmed that he isn’t suffering from any illness. It is just that he is trying to embrace uncertainty of life and it makes him appreciate each moment, take each day and live to the fullest. And he is grateful to have this day as he had made it count and the pleasantry is just a change in perception which he feels that he hasn’t taken the day or people or nature for granted and wants to make things meaningful. The old man was making some sense without sounding rude.
Many people respect others wholeheartedly. Just that few people spoil it by themselves. When someone questions or advices out of genuine concern the energy radiated wouldn’t lie. In case of Neha Mami the energy or the vibrations have its own rippling effects in a nagging way. Hope she understands ‘Kalyanam is 1000 kaalathu payir’ and ‘Mazhai varuvadhum Magan varuvadhum Maheshwaran Kaiyil’. Finding it spiritual?
Practically speaking, coming together of two hearts is difficult and should shatter various levels of ego and fears. Despite sharing bed, things take time to leave the independence and take things to the next level physically and it varies with individual. And on hostel, no one likes to stay in a place where one has to ache for love and yearn for being part of a family.
Whenever someone like Neha Mami is questioning, “Enna Yosichundu iruka?”. The one on the receiving end of tracer bullets may actually be worried about the last piece of idly that he/she gulped down spotting an insect run wiggling it’s antenna from the bottom of the idly container and confused whether it was inside or was just roaming outside.
Typically Pozhachu kidandha lets meet moment.
P.S. The above encounters with Neha Mamis is there for guys too. Just to relate better have specified from a girl’s perspective.

Harassment and being street smart

Seems one of my friends was offended on telling being street smart at the time of harassment. Questions like, ‘why guys are so?’, ‘Why not we fight against it?’, ‘Why only girls have to face this?’, ‘Why can’t superman come and save us?’, ‘Why not girls manhandle guys during such moments and expose the real face of them?’, ‘Will Karma take action through is progeny?’ flooded in.

1. Not all men are rapists or molesters. There are many good men out there who know to respect and treat women well and see the pain in women’s eyes and tell “It isn’t your fault.” If someone at work place or in public place is bothering, they would give a helping hand in handling such issues. They do make sure not to meet such kind of immature people alone. Say, caught up in a meeting with a jerk who keeps intruding in one’s personal space all the time even after showing face, giving hints it is bothering, speaking across the table that whatever they do is uncomfortable; One can’t find better ways rather getting solutions from guy friends or brother.

Does girls don’t give better solutions?? Not like that. We girls first ask people to ignore. We think “Idhu yeppavum nadakardhu dhana. Edhuku en importance tharanum”. True. Still problems might persist. Most of the pasanga friends/ brother would ask to speak it out to the person and tell it is bothering before taking action. Sometimes ignoring does work. But not all offenders catch that sign. Some jerks do take it as ‘Mownam Sammadham’, which is worst of a kind. This can be done in a work place.

There is a huge difference between someone who approaches for a romantic relationship and such offenders, sometimes mix of both do exist. The first one also can come under harassment when he/she doesn’t stop bothering other even after clearly stating a ‘NO’. There too it is better to state ‘NO’ openly and draw a boundary when one isn’t planning to take it further to avoid assumptions. It varies much more from harassment and has to be handled in a better way because the other is looking for LOVE and good to give proper closure rather considering it has a harassment if isn’t going overboard and when the guy/girl is matured. And is altogether different topic.

2. We can fight. For the fact one has to fight. And fighting doesn’t always mean that have to slap another in front of all. It is good to speak openly to the person on the uncomfortableness, shit happening, which the person is causing rather gathering crowd around. It absolutely doesn’t feel good for girls in the first place, for the fact a girl has to undergo lot of fears, panic attacks, and mind races. Mind tends to program various scenarios that may not happen. Even the offender would have not thought of those in the first place. Need to speak out boldly without showing the fear underneath and duly to be shared with trusted friends, parents who would give confidence to face such tangled situations.

3. It is not girls alone who wage such battles. There are guys too to give company on this. Rather girls, guys have tremendous mental torture in such situations. Simple for the fact, sometimes such girls might carry an excellent outlook and if a guy resists they would be looked down by pears. And even if a guy reports such issues, girls wouldn’t be punished for their behavior. Girls can change the story and with tears in eyes that guy might fall under false charge and will be looked down subsequently. For the fact there isn’t a forum that would support them or console them and tell them “It isn’t your fault. It is hers”.

4.  Self-help is the best help. And in public place the greatest help that one can do to one self is RUN or move away. Should take a phone and start speaking or at least need to fake. Need to pull oneself from the situation and sprint. Should just prolong the sprint to marathon till one finds help or finds a safe place. Shouting “Akka thangai oda porakkala?”, “Amma ipidiya valathanga?” may not help for two reasons. In such panic moments one tend to speak in mother tongue. The offender may not know the language. They might be drunk. Even if he is born with sister or brought up well some people simply can’t control their arousal. And it is not the place to conduct debates where ‘Nation is demanding an answer’. One need not know his lineage. Even if he is from a good lineage he has already put down his family. He need not approve that you are winning the argument.

Supermen do exist but the perspective we see is different. There are conductors who pin point such fellows and ask them to get off the bus. There are auto drivers who tell “Nee en ponnu maari iruka ma. Indha college la dhan padikara. Inga dhan vela pakkara en thangaiyum. Bhayapadama varalam en auto la correct ah iraki vidren.” And as one gets down they tell “Nalla sapdu ma. Udamba pathuko.” And we do have apps from which can share the details to parents or friends. Even in mid-twenties if we girls are expecting “Spider man web vittu kaapathanum” means a moment of silence only for all those who have such expectations. On real situations can just shout for help in the worst case after vacating the place.

5. “Why can’t we manhandle such people?” Already on confronting such people brings various emotions to surface and mind will be blank. Manhandling after getting released from hold (pushing the fellow down or hitting his balls) is more like ‘Saniyana thuki baniyan la pottukara’ moment precisely. Not all battles are worth waging. As the emotions run higher at such moment anger turns to tears and many breakdown. It is absolutely okay to cry and it is necessary to vent out such emotions but not in front of him. After such situations, getting to safer place one is likely to break down and it is absolutely normal and the need of the hour. It is okay to cry for sleep. It is okay to lock the door in bathroom and cry, weep, break down under shower and share it with friends/parents.

It is not okay to put in a better way is not safe for one to manhandle. Just because

அமைந்தாங் கொழுகான் அளவறியான் தன்னை

வியந்தான் விரைந்து கெடும்.

He will quickly perish who, ignorant of his own resources flatters himself of his greatness, and does not live in peace with his neighbours.

This kind of situation is absolutely not a good place to show physical strength or courage. Fortunately or unfortunately, physically guys are stronger. Let them be. Such situations can be related to crossing road after the signal turns green for pedestrians. It is good to wait for 10 seconds and cross. Sometimes a car would accelerate and cross. It is not about who is right. It is about whose life. And one need peace at least after breaking down under shower and manhandling is a spoiler of peace.

6. ‘Will Karma take action through his progeny?’ Ah! Tricky question. A spiral of thoughts waits. Let god forbid and let his little girl escape from such scenarios. The cycle of breaking down under shower, crying to sleep has to be faced by another one. Pain is going to be the same anyway. Okay spiritually but emotionally none of your business as one might think about one’s own karmic deeds and also closed one’s karmic deeds and for neither, one is likely to get answers.

There are many things were energy can be spent rather thinking about his Karmic data base and Paapa punya balance sheet.


P.S. Pen is mightier than sword. The post doesn’t speak about gang rape. But the previous stage.

இது பேறு காலம் இல்லா கர்பமா ?

A bird’s eye view of mental health awareness in Tamil cinema.

Anniyan is just another movie in ‘Yezhuthu Rakshasar’ Sujatha Rengaranjan – Creative Director Shankar combo. But this one isn’t a review exactly. A shift in perspective. The movie was released in the year 2005. The movie cannot be put in the usual category ‘Good vibes’ as it is a psycho thriller. When compared to many other Hollywood movies revolving around serial killers this movie might seem nothing. But Anniyan is good in its own style.
Wikipedia is the default reference page to start with and to know the general details on any content. To scroll down the wiki page of Anniyan movie it can easily take 15-20 minutes just for a dry run. One of the pain staking pages ever read with change of technicians of various portfolios involved in the movie. Kudos to Shankar and team (which happened to fluctuate) for their efforts on each and every frame, massive sets, graphics, Anniyan website designing, art direction, camera and of course acting.
As one hits the bottom of wiki page of Anniyan movie, thoughts are likely to be absolutely messy all around owing to the data limit exceedance to assimilate all the technical details about the movie. At least for myself. Should write about VFX effects, website design programming involved. No. Should write about casting and acting of Vikram. Vivek, Prakashraj, Sadha. Nay. Should mention details on Garuda Purana. Should not miss the locations where songs were shot. Should go for a research on lyrical value of the lyrics written by Vairamuthu, Na.Muthukumar and Kabilan. Should tell about the semi classical duets, ultra-modern item number, folk numbers, BGM by Harris Jayaraj. Not to miss the mélange of first pancha ratna kriti of Thyagaraja and the duet; duly shot in the sets of Mahabalipuram and efforts put on directing the scene. Or should state the fight sequence where many stunt artists were badly injured? Or should this be written as a comparative study between Sidney Sheldon’s ‘Tell me your dreams’? ex cetera. And finally drop the thought of writing about this movie. Messy, cramped thoughts all at once are very common for any topic on this earth.
To write about this movie covering all details is like ‘Had to launch a rocket with 250 satellites all to be exactly put in their respective orbits at the same time without any deviation even in fermi seconds’. Ah breath taking read even for the wiki page. Remembered Rajni’s dialogue in the movie Chandramukhi. “Ganga va Chandramukhi tendhu pirikka, psychosis lendhu pudhiya muraiya kaiyala poren”. Schizophrenia coupled with depression case that was. What details to take for the movie and what to leave? How to put it in a readable way?
While aiming for something great; need to appreciate the minute details more, to enjoy the journey to the fullest. Just concentrating primarily only on the basic needs to feel at peace; something like to ease in the loo without constipation, eating food on time, drinking enough water, sleeping at once as one hits the bed. All inspiration from the legend Sujatha Rangarajan, who wrote dialogues for the movie. Go for. ‘PROGRESSIVE COMPROMISE’. The only way to write about this kind of movie when one is overwhelmed by technical details.
So with that as the motivation, the movie in short is all about suppressing realistic and natural human emotions and the imbalance in coping mechanisms and lesser inclination to accept things.
Vikram as Ambi, Remo, Anniyan shows distinct variation in his multiple personalities fantastically. It is common to have multi-dimensional, multiple interests in life. But as the proverb, ‘அளவுக்குமிஞ்சினால் அமிர்தமும் நஞ்சு’ says about the multiple personality disorder precisely. Most of the mental health issues dates back to childhood emotional scars that are unaddressed, unhealed and deep rooted as there are less or no healthy ways to vent out emotions and children who felt neglected by parents, who are the primordial source of unconditional love; tend to take alternate sources for their survival.
Same happens with Ambi as he had been deeply affected by the death of his lovable sister which happened due to social apathy. He grows as a man who struggles to handle his emotions well and attempts suicide as his love gets rejected by Nandhini, which tells about his maturity and acceptance/tolerance level. He then develops a false self to impress her and gives birth to another personality Remo, a stylish model alongside with Anniyan, a serial killer of all those who fail to follow the rule book.
The script loudly speaks about corruption at all levels in different places, various men who lack basic courtesy, no sense of humanity in crisis, not being able to empathize and the hero who is inflexible and speaks rules and rules only and someone who is highly sensitive. He makes sense when he questions about the quality of food in train. That ‘5 paisa thirudina thappa’ dialogue of Sujatha strikes hard on corruption and proves that many small acts make way for a big thing. But finally it all boils down to general ethics and being self-organized without being utterly selfish.
Though as Anniyan he questions on the rules and norms of the society, practical feasibility on these aspects is utopian. Say, the eve teaser brushes girls in a bus, all girls feel like removing slippers and beat the person. At least stamp him back with her shoes heavily on his legs or hit forcefully with her elbow. Complaining to police may seem a good idea but accompanied by headache but it usually boils down to being street smart on girls’ side and being more sensible and carrying oneself as a gentle man on guys’ side.
On the flip side, the girl subjected to such a situation despite her braveness at the moment, fear resides for the next few travels in bus, some avoid bus for few days altogether. The rage accompanied with fear definitely stays for some time and all guys will be looked up as eve teasers. But effective coping mechanisms and healthy alternative should help her as many things are out of control in general and being subjected to various emotions of rage is natural.
Same applies to any situation when rules are broken, being betrayed by a partner, when encountering plagiarism with a colleague. It all boils down to individual’s conscience and effective means that one is capable of reaching out; friends or family or someone who is willing to lend an ear to stay mentally fit.
Tamil cinema has done a tremendous job in creating awareness on mental health and possible consequences. To my knowledge they are Chandramukhi (2005) on Schizophrenia and borderline personality disorder, Kadhal Konden (2003) tells about the unhealed childhood trauma, Priyamanavale (2000) is a story of recovering Vulnerable Narcissist, Mayakkam Enna (2011) tells about imbalance of emotions which goes to the level of masking the reality, 3 (2012) is about bipolar disorder.
But on a global sense at least within India, mental health isn’t taken care well. Emotional wellbeing or healing from trauma is just another option when compared to materialist desires. The general view is that being emotional or being expressive or crying is seen as a weakness. But the truth that people fail to accept that emotions remind us that we are humans. And learning to venting out them effectively is something one needs to work on in the beautiful journey called life. Thus making one more lovable and bring peace to oneself and also to all others. In experiencing various rages one is not alone. You are not alone. We are not alone.
So any emotion isn’t பேறு காலம் இல்லா கர்பம். It is just a matter of choice to vent out and reach out or to just pile it up like dirt. Barking at all without handling one’s one emotions well is like open defecation. Better way is using loo; cleaning it before and after use then and there with Harpic and using Odonil.
To conclude in Yezhuthu Rakshasar’s words from the movie “காதல் என்பது காலைக் கடன் மாதிரி. அடக்கி வைத்தால் ஆபத்து தான்”.
It isn’t just for love but for all emotions.
Belated Mental Health Awareness Month.