Tuesday, April 17

Caught in the Act!!!

Sunday, April 15

The Ace Cameraman

Moveover P.C. Sriram there is a new SreeRam on the block who is capturing the attention of all photo enthusiasts. Although a new entrant into the field of photography, Sreeram has been making rapid strides since getting his hands on a new Canon Powershot. In the short time that he has started he has shown us glimpses of his immense talent and potential. So far he has explored his abilities in closed door party settings and in flower shows managing to capture the beauty of nature from various angles and moods. The subtlety that he brings to the pictures are amazing. Like all premium quality photographers Sreeram refuses to release his pictures for public viewing to limit his popularity among the crowds and thus focus on his current hobbies rather than being disturbed by commercial interests and competition. Here's wishing Sreeram all the luck in his endeavors.

Tuesday, November 8

Mani's Magic

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He is arguably one of the best directors in operation in the Indian movie world. The consistency with which he manages to make commercial success's of social themes is something that would be difficult for any director to emulate.I present the top three movies directed by him from his list. This list is subjective hence others are welcome to give in their inputs. Top 3 of Mani-

Rank 3: Roja One of the ground breaking movies of Indian Cinema,this made history of sorts for a variety of reasons - The music was given by a 23 yr old youngster who was paid a remuneration of Rs 25,000 for this movie which was his debut. But what would stand out in this movie is the amazing screenplay which unfolds frame by frame. Mani does an brilliant job all through movie etching each character perfectly and justifying their presence and roles very clearly. Madhu walks away with the acting credits although she never could recreate the magic again. While Aravind Swamy stole a thousand hearts with his Red Sweatshirt and amazing screen presence..
Favourite Song: Puthu Vellai Mazhai
Favourite Scene: Aravind Swamy putting out the fire on the national flag by rolling over it.
Favourite Dialogue: Actually cant think of one..

Rank 2: Alaipayuthe - Like the previous one this movie launched a face that became a rage of the State. The beauty with which Mani unfolds the love story of Karthik & Shakti speaks volumes of his talent in Movie making. A parallel telling in which the flash back merges with the original story towards the end of the movie is wonderful. The amazing dialogues between the various characters involved in the movie with each playing their role to perfection. The Scene in which Karthik's dad talks to him about his younger days as an hardworking and well disciplined youngster is something every one would have had with their dad at somepoint in their life. The conversation between Karthiks and Shaktis parents are also beautifully portrayed.
Favourite Song: Snehithane
Favourite Scene: When Madhavan gets caught trying to bring Poorni(shakti's sis) and her fiance' together.
Favourite Dialogue: "Karthik,nee panakaranna? classle lastaa? yenna, panakara pasanga thaan intha mathiri padikaratha vittitu ponunga pinnadi suthuvaanga." ( That smile..aaah.)

Rank 1: Mouna Ragam- This one ranks right up there. The first commercial movie of Mani. A indicator of what was to redefine the tamil film industry. The storyline is to date one of the best that I can think of. Mohan as the loving husband, Revathi as the full of life young girl whose world is shattered after the death of her lover and finally Karthik as the happy, fun loving hearthrob steals the show. Some of the songs and their lyrics are really amazing and touching. I could just go on....
Favourite Song: Nilaave Vaa..(One Amazing song...touches you everytime you listen to it)
Favourite Scene: When Karthik invites Revathis dad for a cup of coffee at the restaurant.
Favourite Dialogue: "Neena kettathu onu...Naana aasai pattu vaangitu vanthathu onu...." ( Mohan is a class act in this one)

Sunday, October 30

Oregon ...Amazing pics along Columbia River. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, October 23

Tsunami Relief 1

After a days work! Posted by Picasa
This article is written by Priya as an account of our Trip to Nagapattinum for the relief operations.

Journey to Lands unknown…..1

Friday, 14th morning came unannounced as usual ,without any warnings whatsoever that we were going to spend one of the most memorable days of our lives ……..in our sojourn journey to the lands where ,in the recent past , catastrophe of tremendous magnitude took place , one which had been quoted as the worst tragedy of the century ….

I would like to share those memories and relish them once again as I go through the notes in my memory lanes to capture it as fresh and as unadulterated, by the passage of time.

Thursday evening, we took a bus to Pondicherry and aptly reached the place by around 10 pm. ‘First things first’ as the saying goes, we contacted the Aid India office in Pondicherry and were told to report to Nagapattnam the next day. Aid India is a Non Government Organization (NGO) which is involved with the relief work in the affected areas. We had to check in a hotel for the night and after checking our for-ever reducing ‘pocket money’, we stopped over at a pretty decent hotel for the night. It was decided by mutual consensus that all six of us (we were 2 girls, rather bright and punctual girls and 4 guys….umm no appropriate adjective comes to my mind as I write, which could describe them to the T.) would have to take the earliest bus possible and miraculously decided for the unholy time of 3.45 am the next morning at the bus stop.

So we settled for the night with the knowledge that sleep is something which will elude us for the next 4 days , and promptly got up by 3.30 in the morning and were all ready to get set and go .

We reached Nagapatnam by mid morning and immediately set out for the NGO’s office. We were asked to start for the affected villages ASAP. Before we started , our bowels were screaming for food and listening to it was very necessary for any future cooperation with them , so we filled it with what ever “kinds” of morsels that we could get our hands on ……,that day being Pongal, we had to settle for Pongal itself and trust me , I relished it completely.

Our final journey began after lunch. We were about 12 in total, including the NGO and local people and we were asked to pack ourselves in a Tata Sumo .Well that we did somehow, now I wonder how, but the Sumo, in spite of its name, couldn’t quite bear the weights of all of us and happily gave in to a puncture. Anyways, after all the ministrations, we were on our way and speedily moving towards the country side…….

The country side happened to be a village by the name of “Vellapallam”. It was a sleepy small village and the devastation was mainly caused in the ‘fishing hamlet’ of the village.
When we got our first glimpse of the shore and the mighty sea , we couldn’t comprehend that in a place like this ………..tiny , quiet and unknown to the world…………catastrophe of such magnitude could have happened . The Sea looked demure and somber …….inviting us in ……it was beautiful. Hard to imagine the forces of nature at its worst ……ugly and cruel!!!

Our first major task ,we were told was to map the entire village on paper , seemed like an easy task but in reality ,quite mammoth as we just had 2 days with us !! There were 387 houses and we had to visit each and every house and see the amount of destruction caused and collect all the required data accordingly. Most of the relief work is done ,the debris clearing is over and now what is left to do is the reconstruction …………….of infrastructure…..houses ,facilities that were lost in the waves …..Hand pumps, roads building ….boats for the fishermen ……fishing nets …..Farmers and their crops lost….cattle lost …..
Due to the strong Tsunami waves, the first lane of houses facing the shore were completely wiped out. There were in total 23 people lost ……21 dead and 2 missing.

Friday evening, we wandered in and around the village, mentally checking up things for the next day’s work. People were crowding around us ……they just wanted someone to hear their woes and their tales...…..Sadness and hope intermingled in their eyes …….

Initially it was pretty difficult to communicate with them in Tamil, but later we became ‘adept’ at conversing with them …with whatever Malayalam words that I could muster at the moment and the age-old sign language of hands and expressions . It is a very humbling experience when people around you look at you with so much faith and respect …..Just because you are “From the Shahar”…. One lady even came up to me and asked me to teach the kiddies in the small school. It was a rendering moment for me. All the village kids were with us where ever we went, some holding our hands, some looking at us with so much awe and “Stars” in their eyes …………this cute little kid “Anand Kumar “ with his very minimal knowledge of the English Language , trying to talk to us ……..for everything that he wanted to show us , he used to say ….’ I’m tree …I’m boat ……….I’m 25 …..He was telling us the boat engine is for 25 thousand rupees………’

We packed up for the day around seven in the evening .We all were sitting near the sea….it was dusk time and by God!!!!!!!!!! The place looked beautiful …..We could just sit there for hours enjoying the salty sea breeze and the silence of the place …..Just the sound of waves crashing ……. The water level had also increased a lot by evening.

We had to put up in a small town for the night …the place was ‘Vedaranyam’ .
We were given a room in a house there .It was quite late by the time we reached there so, we had to manage with bread for the dinner ………one funny anecdote to relate was that we could not find any ‘Butter’ there in the small market ……..we searched and explained with signs and all……….we could not find any butter!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Anyways …after all the hullabaloo of the day and night, we finally settled for the night. It was too hot in the room so we all decided to sleep on the terrace under the stars and was it good???? It was Amazing….............

Thursday, October 20

Tsunami Relief 2

At Vellapalam ( Fishing Colony) near Nagapattinum Posted by Picasa
This article is written by Priya as an account of our Trip to Nagapattinum for the relief operations.

Journey to Lands unknown….. 2

The next day came bright and early and we were on our way back to “Our Village” as we had started fondly calling it ……….We had breakfast in our village’s small tea shop …..Very rustic …..On dried coconut leaves, as a substitute for plates and sumptuous idlis and chutneys. From the tea shop, the way to the fishermen’s hamlet was a little distance which we covered in an open auto-like vehicle which is used to transport materials from place to place. We were fresh and raring to get back and start our work.

In the morning, we started off by collecting data as I mentioned before. We had to cover the entire village, so had to start early and be quick. We actually went to each and every house inspecting the damage done and making notes of what was needed in the area.
While doing so, we spoke to the villagers. Some of them were really keen to take us to their homes ……..they kept asking us about “Sapad” which in Tamil means food!!!!
In fact we went to a lady’s house and the lovely lady offered us coconut water from fresh coconuts taken from the trees right in front of us ……we had coconuts ……quenched our thirsts and filled our stomachs …….
In the evening, after the work was almost done, we went to the beach along with an experienced old fisherman whose face was weathered by the sea winds and he knew whatever there was to know about that belt of sand and sea …………no one ventures to the sea these days ………they all are waiting for some time before they go on with everyday tasks of earning their livelihood again. We felt the sand sink at places really deep because of the silt brought in by the waves and at some places there was quick sand also ……..pretty dangerous!!! But all in all, I did manage to bring something of the mighty Bay of Bengal with me …….some shells, some sand …..It is said that if you place your ear near the shell’s mouth, you can hear the sound of the sea ……and that’s what I did ……….the fisherman even caught a crab for me to take home …..Which of course I promptly refused!!!!

The awe inspiring thing here is the Human Spirit …..People, who have witnessed first hand, one of the worst tragedies to affect Mother Earth, were drained but they were coping ……and doing a great job at that. There was music blaring from one of the houses for the entire time that we were there …..Blatantly playing Tamil music, a strong reminder of the Theory of “Life Goes On” …….........

As we left Our village in the evening , we were a wee bit sad , we knew we wouldn’t see these people again in our lives , in whom we had found some great talking and shared laughter …enjoying those moments , trying so comically hard to talk to them in Tamil and doing a great job out of it also …………………..Meena , Abinaya - the kids ,Chitra –the beautiful young lady to whom I offered my favorite chocolate ,Salla Marie who said she’ll come with me to Hyderabad , that old woman who asked me to teach her grand children in the school , the Village Leader ‘Kalyan Sundar’,Anand Kumar and the kids posing shyly as Rajnikant in front of us ……the goat I held , the puppy I played with …………
It was time to say ‘Bon Voyage ‘to fellow villagers and move on …….

I knew I was leaving behind a beautiful place ……..with a treasure of memories and and the knowledge of learning the simple Lessons of Life ………………”Time and Tide waits for None “ …………….the Tamil music still blaring in my ears ………

We left for Nagapattnam and then for Pondicherry the same night. We wanted to experience the famous place before we finally said our Adios to this beautiful part of the country…………southern most places of India. One thing that I realized is that our country is beautiful ………….it offers amazing places to visit and myriad of cultures to relish………

We must explore our own country and explore the unknowns, realize the varied cultures, feel the Local music , enjoy the local meals , listen to the heart beats of the young hearts and cherish the kaleidoscope of memories in our hearts forever ………….

Wednesday, October 19

Sarvesh Miles.....

Okie this one is interesting! For the first time my blog is getting contribution from freelance writers and I get to play editor. Isn't that great.
This one came in from my mentor Kishore..the inspiration behind this blog. Read on.
Content censored on request by the writer.... please mail me to get a copy of the same.