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August 29, 2012

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March 5, 2012

This winter has been ruthless to me. Right from when it started getting chilly in October, I knew things were only going to go downhill.

To save you from a long rant, I will just say that I was put through a lot. I was a big square peg being forced into a small round hole. The edges were rubbing off, the corners were cracking and there were scratches all over.

But – I learnt that you cannot go on doing something you are not good at because it is safe. I learnt that it is okay to take a year off your résumé and that was not the end of the world. I learnt that you need to taste failure to not be afraid of facing what life throws at your face. And I learnt that fear with failure chews you up bit by bit.

After many days of surviving on six cups of coffee and a few Hershey bars a day, I know that moping is for the weak. If your strength has been tested and you have come out wounded but tougher, the weakness then cowers.

The days are sunnier. The wind is showing more remorse. Life is looking up.  Spring is here.

The United States of Irony

January 29, 2012

These are the views of two graduate students suffering from excessive amounts of assignment and lack of sleep and who share a common yearning for good food, some noise on the streets and a dirty road.
PS: Hot girls who think that this post is funny, Mr. Chan is largely responsible for it. Please feel free to contact him at @chancr7 – that would make his day.

Life Updates

October 27, 2011

So I came to the US. And almost gave blogging up. Before I reason out why I gave in to the temptation to blog again, a few thoughts on how life has been.

Life is a series of PhD comics. Though I love it and laugh at it, there is more irony now in my laughter than before.

After being pampered like a princess at home, it is hard to cook for myself, do my own laundry, pay my bills and importantly, keep up with the humongous amount of studying that I am supposed to do.  But then, I can wear anything I want to, buy anything I want to and come home anytime I want to. Does this independence compensate for feeling less at home? I do not know.

Diwali and Navarathri are distant but cherished memories.  Maybe by the time Pongal arrives, I would have acclimatized myself to the bland life here.

I see people who have an accent halfway between Indian and American, who spell differently, whose children cannot speak Tamil, and who celebrate Halloween and not Diwali. Is that going to be me in another ten years?

Oh yeah, the streets here are super clean. The grass is well maintained. The fall colours are beautiful. The people are friendly. There is no pollution, dust or noise.

US is awesome. US is sexy. But US is not home.  It is too silent, too cold and the coffee here really sucks.

For me, home is Chennai – hot, humid and where I truly belong.

Chennai Blues

July 14, 2011

I am leaving Chennai in a few weeks. Leaving to a totally new land. Leaving behind 21 years of my life here. There is so much I am going to miss, but there is also so much that is awaiting me at the other end of the world. I am nervous, excited, nostalgic, sentimental, bouncy and hyper all at the same time.

I will miss my filter kaapi in the mornings. I will miss shouting for it the moment I wake up. I will miss being offered steaming hot brown kaapi right into my hands.

I will miss wearing sarees at weddings. I will miss the flowers I occasionally wear with my plait.

I will miss roaming around the city with my friends. I will miss being teased by them. I will miss all the gossip and the egos.

I will miss West Mambalam, though it is not my home. If some place in Chennai could symbolize me, then it has to be this place. Tam-Brahm Mami’s and jeans clad teens.

I will miss reading Harry Potter and Roald Dahl with my sister. I will miss irritating her when she plays Snake on the phone.

Sometimes I wish I never had to leave. I could take up a job in Chennai, get married, settle down here near Mom and Dad…and live happily ever after.

Kedi Minus

July 6, 2011

That is what I will call my yet-to-be-released, very exclusive, super addictive social networking site. What if every other enterprise got the idea to start their very own social network? What would be the features included? What could we expect to share, see and opine on those sites? These are a few possible scenarios.

Hi5’s “Stomp”

How many of us actually remember Hi5? I vaguely recollect that there was a scrap book, which Orkut aped. This time Hi5 comes without Likes or +1s. Instead, you can stomp, stamp and slap statuses and photos, like how Hi5 was stomped, stamped and slapped upon by Orkut.

Orkut’s “Revenge”

This is named after what Orkut Buyukkokten wanted once he saw Facebook emerge as the clear winner. This may also come to be Facebook’s future name after Google+ opens registration to all.

Facebook 2.0

This is like Chitti v.2.0. It is malicious, despicable…and boring after a certain point of time. Just like how the original version is.

Yahoo’s “Boo-hoo”

Why should Yahoo keep quiet with Gmail driving it out of its own den? So, it comes up with Boo-hoo which is full of advertisements for matrimony, photos of Bollywood beauties, hot gossip of what is happening in the Hindi tele-serial world and the latest news about behind-the-screen activities from the lamest reality show.

Hotmail’s HotSpot

HotSpot is more of a certified stalking site than a social networking site. It allows users to rate a profile as HOT or NOT and will display the hottest profile on the top, much to the pleasure of its male users.

Twitter’s Nutter

This is especially for the clan that loves to stalk celebrities. Twitter’s Nutter is a quintessential social networking site that will have the same features as Twitter, although the name is changed just so that people believe that Twitter is also developing new things. The inappropriate hash tags, random stalkers passing lewd comments and shameless people pleading everyone to follow them will still be the salient feature of this Twitter Nutter.

Kedi Minus

This will have the much wanted “dislike” button and a minus button where you could fill in the number of minuses you want. This is expected to give a “who has got the least number of minuses” craze analogous to Facebook’s “likes” craze.

Very soon we are going to have to maintain profiles in at least three social networking sites. Imagine the confusion, arguments and differences in opinion it will cause. There will be a bunch of “I hate Boo-Hoo” pages on Stomp and “Nutter sucks” pages on Revenge. Franshippers will crowd these sites subsequently which will prompt more elite networking sites to spring up. God save the world.

Blogger Kinds

July 3, 2011

Everyone blogs these days – which is a very good thing. Everyone thinks they are very good at it – which is not so good. Everyone pesters everyone else to read their blogs – which is downright annoying. Why would it not be so when all blogs seem to fall into stereotypes as rigid as a chiselled stone? Most blogs fall under one or the other of the below category.

The rant-a-phillic

These pretentious folks rant about everything: the heat in Chennai, the rains in Mumbai, their exams, their love life, their careers…everything under the sun. They are like octogenarian paati’s who are perpetually at dismay with the world around them.

A sample,

Avan Ivan – A R(ant)eview

What is with Bala these days? Seriously, what is with him? For the amount we spend on movie tickets, we certainly do not expect to see a rerun of Pithamagan, only with different heroes. Maybe it is the whole of the Tamil Film Industry to be blamed. After all, they were the ones who keep making rustic film after rustic film. Alright, a good majority of Tamil Nadu are its villages. But really, we are all sick of watching aruval sandai and dying heroines and azhukku heroes! But in the name of sophistication, we cannot be put through torture like Engeyum Kadhal too!

Note importantly that, throughout the rant Vishal’s acting seems to have been forgotten. So have been other good Tamil flicks.

The Quiz Masters

This is another burgeoning trend. Though I have no qualms about it, I write about it just to classify the various blogs I have come across. These quizzers put up question after question of unimportant information and pride themselves when they answer abstract questions. Neither the question nor the answer makes sense to us laymen, so I keep quiet and let them be.

For example.

Which river gets its name from the Tamil word for a person well versed in the science of ground water?

The answer? The river Cooum. Since this pops up in every conversation we participate in, we might as well know this important piece of information.

The Shakespeares

They own poetry blogs. All of them invariably write about love, sunshine, rain, the sky, trees, scenic beauty, emotions, sadness, blah, blah and blah. They sprinkle salt on the open wound by begging, nagging and forcing people to read their poems and comment on them.

Like this,


You heart, you pump blood

Due to which my emotions flood

On seeing her, my fair dame

To win her heart, am I game?

She walked by, with tears in her eyes

Totally unanswered were my how’s and why’s

She told me of her wish to wed

Someone else and my heart turned to lead!

I understand how you feel after reading it. I feel sorry for you. You feel sorry for me to have tolerated such poetry.

The Photography Blog

These people swear by excessive photoshopped works. To every photo they click, this is their mantra:

Crop, blur, tint, saturate.

A cluster of these surreal photos and you can start your very own blog to showcase your amateur photography skills.

The List Makers

These people are like me. They make lists of everything. Either that or bullets or charts or highly structured essays that resemble research papers. I strongly defend them as they belong to the clan of few of the most organized people in the blogosphere.

There are so many more that could be added to the list – cookery blogs, tech blogs, rage comics and rants in localparty style as far as I can remember. Whatever is the genre, and whatever has been said, blogging still remains a pleasure to all bloggers.


June 3, 2011

From what I have observed, it is suicide to utter certain sentences because you are living in the 21st century, in India and in Chennai. What follows are glares, swears and vigorous shaking of the head – something must have gone wrong somewhere. If you aren’t sure what I am talking about, think of how you’d react to a person if he told you these:

“I do not follow cricket”

Cricket is a religion. Cricket is sacred. Cricket is omnipresent. It is sacrilege to not like cricket. It becomes analogous to a cold blooded murder to find it boring. There is nothing such as too much cricket.

And if you are living in Chennai and you do not support the Chennai Super Kings, you would be the victim of cold blooded murder. Now, do not tell me that I have not warned you!

Unfortunately, I belong to both these categories.

“I do not dig Facebook”

You need to have been born some 25 years earlier with your Mom and Aunt who are on Facebook without knowing how to use it. My grandmother has joined Facebook and plays Poker with her second standard class mate. Don’t be a disgrace to our generation

“I am not on Twitter”

What? How can that be? You cannot think of anything witty? At all? You do not text always? Ever? Shame, again.

“I like Ilayaraja more than AR Rahman” or “I do not like AR Rahman”

Ok, Ilayaraja is Maestro and Rahman is just Mozart. But don’t you ever belittle him! We grew up listening to him and if you’ve grown up listening to Raja that talks a lot about your age. And if you like Deva the most, I appreciate your eclectic knowledge in music varying from Arabian folk to Lebanese classical.

 “I do not wear Jeans”

If you are a guy, just know that you do not have enough reason to continue living anymore. If you are a girl, I suggest you at least dress to be a thiruvizhaa figure. You know, the ones that wear jeans, a loose multicoloured top with Jimikis and orange Kanagambaram poo on plaits well oiled and tightly combed. Also, over talcum powder. Pliss to be wearing jeans you folks.

“I do not know how to ride a bike”

If this is the case for guys, then forget wooing girls or getting yourself a girl friend. Don’t embarrass yourself more by justifying that you can still ride a TVS – 50 or a Scooty Pep Plus.

“I do not have a Gmail account”

I just hope you have no reason to tell this out aloud. I also hope that you do not use Rediff mail or Bol messenger.

“I watch Sun Music in my free time”

Clean suicide. You like the anchors? Then clean samaadhi.

“I am a stickler for good grammar”

You won’t survive in the Tanglish world of today, anyway. Pity you weren’t born in the early 1900’s. Pity we have to put up with you and your craziness.

“I hate masaal dosa and filter kapi”

Avana nee? Go drown yourself in your Vegetable Makhanwala and Lassi.

And I could go on and on. I belong to a handful of these categories myself. There is a bit of every one of us here. Hope you had a good read.

Every time we turn the newspaper around we have Arindham Chaudhary beckoning us to join his world class B-school that easily beats the IIM’s in campus placements and in international exposure. Every time we hear of new engineering colleges springing up, we wonder what possibly makes them name their college that. Engineering colleges are named after all gods, all industries, all communities, all castes and all religions. Now is the time when all the 12th graders frantically look for ads and look through brochures of every possible college that offers a degree in engineering. Here is an advertisement for Sri Lord Labak College of Engineering founded by Sir Sri Vijaya Thesiga Rajendar that promises so many things that are out of the world. Literally.

Thanks to Mickey for the help with Photoshop.


May 24, 2011

“Namma Lalitha indha varshathoda Engineering mudikaralo?”  asks Pattu Manni.

[“Isn’t our Lalitha finishing her Engineering this year”]

“Ama Manni, Naalu varsham odi poiduthu.  Leading software company la place aayruka” , Amma replies.

[“Yes Manni, 4 years have flown by. She is placed in a leading software company”]

“Besh. Rendu varsham vela panatam. Next kalyanathuku paaka aarambichudalaam”.

[” Great. Let her work for two years. We will then start looking for a groom for her.”]


“Ipo dhaan Lalli porandha mari iruku, adhukulla iruvadhu vayasu aayduthu paaren” says Ambi Mama.

[“It seems like Lalli was born just now. She has grown to be 20 already.”]

“Ama Mama, years have gone by fast” replies Appa.

“IIT la M.Tech Program. Best for her. 2 years padichu mudicha jammunu vela kedaikum. Apdiye kalyanamum panidalaam”

[“IIT la M.Tech Program. Best for her. After two years of studying she’ll get a very good job. We’ll marry her off as soon as she starts working.”]


“Lalli padichu mudichuta la?” enquires Paddhu Perima.

[“Has Lalli finished studying?”]

“Indha varshathoda mudikaraa” answers Amma.

[“She is finishing this year.”]

“Namma Prema naathanaar oda machunan payan Venkat, CA mudichutaan. Karaikudi la vela. Nalla varan. Vitudadha”.

[“Our Prema’s sister-in-law’s brother-in-law’s son Venkat has finished his CA. He works in Karaikudi. Its a very good match. Don’t miss the opportunity.”]


“Illa, ava America poi mela padikanam nu solara…” informs Amma to all.

[“Actually, she wants to go to America and study further…”]

“Enna MS ah! Naapadhu laksham aagume!”

[“What MS ah! It will cost you 40 lakhs!]

“MS illa PhD. Fully funded…”

“Solrom nu thappa nenachukaadha Ramani, Indha PhD laam namma family ku othu varadhu!”

[“Don’t think of us in the wrong way just because we are pointing this to you, Ramani. This PhD and all won’t set right for our family!”]

“Unga thanga payan PhD dhaana panraan Manni?” Amma catches the point.

[“Your sister’s son is doing his PhD only no Manni?”]

“Payan avan. 28 years varil padikalaam. Ipo post doc kuda dhaan padika poraan. Iruvathi ezhu vayasula Lalli ya yaaru kalyanam panipaan?”

[“He is a boy. He can study till he is 28. He is going to do post doc also now. Who will marry Lalli when she is 27!?”]

“4 year course nu ava solra…”

[“She claims it is a 4 year course.”]

“Apdi dhaan elaarum solluva. Indha research elaam velaiku aagadha samacharam. En di, nee dhaan un ponnu kitta eduthu sollanam!”

[“That is what everyone will say. This research and all never works. Why, you should only tell your daughter that!”]

“Padikaren nu solra…padikatame…”

[“She says she wants to study…let her study…”]

“Pinna epo kalyanam panradhu?!”

[“Then when will she get married?!”]

The unanswered question for all in my family.