Friday, March 25, 2005


Is evil a thought, a deed, an act, a moment, an emotion or inaction
Is it in the mind, heart, body, soul, word or in your fingertips...
Is it happiness, sadness, anger, disappointment or dissent
Is it sensile, tactile, ductile, virile...
Is it a smell, a worm, a bug, a weevil
black, blue, red or indigo...
If evil lives...
How do we know it?


Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Love in the time of death

Kadhal Mannan shall love no more. For a man who held his own when two giants (MGR and Sivaji Ganesan) were striding tamil moviedom like twin Colossus... For a man who loved constantly and had solid-living proof of his love... For Vishwanathan Aiyer of Avvai Shanmugi ... For Cupid's point man in Tamil Nadu ... This is for him.
I'm not going to say Rest in Peace. It is inappropriate. Perhaps, we should say May he rest in Love... Yes. With and in love, may he go...

* * *

Easwari never went home. At least, she did not go home in the way we envisaged. Because Child Line got to the scene more than an hour after the incident was reported. The other day I get a call from the bunglers:
ChildLine: Hello, Madam. You had given a complaint yesterday. Can you tell us more about the woman?
Me: How would I know? You ask her and tell me.
CL: OK. Do you know where she is now?
Me: WHAT? You mean you did not pick her up?
CL: Madam, you did not give us the correct venue.
Me: *Splutter* WHAT? When did you get to the venue? The exact time?
CL: 11-45 a.m.
Me: That is more than an hour after I called you. How do you expect a destitute women with two young kids to sit that long in the sun, waiting for you? You turned up late, and she is probably lost and now, you accuse me of giving you the wrong venue? *splutter more*
CL: No madam, we are not accusing you. It took us time to get our staff together.
Me: You are in no position to accuse anyone, having let go an excellent opportunity to help a woman and two children. I don't think I want to talk to you anymore. You

Maybe Easwari and her kids din't go home. Maybe they did. And if they did, it was certainly no thanks to me. Or the grand support mechanisms of this country.

* * *

I'm not sure if I should be blogging about this at all. But despite all, I can't help but mention my brush, from a respectable distance (for her) with the Only AMMA, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa.
Covering the Health demand in the Legislative Assembly yesterday, siting diagonally across her, within touching distance, and yet not quite! :)
It is not the first time I was seeing her, but I guess it was the first time she noticed me!
Now, would this qualify for celebrity-bumping or not?


Saturday, March 19, 2005

How to catch a crab and other tales

Since Tuesday last, I've added theory of two skills to my repository of "Things I can Do." I can catch a crab without it biting my digits off and I can make a fibre boat.
Remember, I do not know if I can actually DO these things but I rest in the complacence that I have knowlege that will guide when push comes to shove! Maybe one of these days I have to catch crabs for a living or maybe build fibre boats! You can never undermine life's big surprises.
Boat yard owners in Kancheepuram, Marakkanam and Cuddalore taught me how to do the boat thingie and I kind of grasped it once I learnt to beat the allergy caused by flying glass-fibre dust. Atccchhhooo...

P.S. I posted a picture yesterday, and a few more on my photo blog, but NOBODY looks there! So, here edited version of almost same shot, not so good, but more aesthetic on this blog. The old one is at the photoblog.

Image hosted by


Monday, March 14, 2005

Taking Easwari Home

I was not going to post today. And then, this came up...
I was walking along North Usman Road, when suddenly a woman, a young baby on her waist and a boy tugging at her pallu, put her hand to her eyes, that had just rolled over.
Being fed on a diet of scrupulously stereo-type flaunting Tamil movies, I could easily see that a faint was coming on. Just then, she collapsed in a heap, right in front of me, her baby hitting the tar road with a dull THUD! Before I could do anything, she was down, and clearly, out.
She and her baby were quite a handful for me to negotiate on my own. So I called out to a guy standing close by and we both picked up the woman from where she was lying on the road and helped her to a shady part of the pavement. I sent the guy ( I can only remember a bushy, dirty beard and a colourful lungi) to buy some water and soda for the woman and the kids, who had, by then started crying too.
Lapping up the water, she told me her name was Easwari, from Theni district, down south. She had come with her husband to Chennai for some cable laying work, but at the site, her husband found another woman and the two eloped, leaving Easwari and her two kids out on a limb. The 27 year-old woman said she had been beaten up and chased away from the construction site and had no money or anywhere to go. Her eyes were brimming over with tears and she put her hands together, as if to thank me for the water.
How could I leave her there?
I could not. Yet there was work to be done and a more permanent solution needed to be found for Easwari too. I could have given her money to go back home, but she looked like the kind that would be cheated right out of that too. Besides, the three had not eaten in days.
It was the two children with her that gave me the idea. They were, now, for all intents and purposes, destitutes. I called CHILDLINE at 1098 and thankfully, someone picked up the call immediately. I gave them the details and they promised to send some one out to get the kids.
And the mother. I also called the Women's Help Line at 1091 and asked them to tie-up with the ChildLine folks. Just so it would have some force, I told them I was a reporter with The Hindu.
It did have some effect, or so I think. A sub-inspector from the Pondy Bazaar Police Station called me and said he would personally handle the case.
I hoped he would. I called back later to check if Easwari had found a place to go to. I was told they would call me back later in the day. I just tried a few minutes ago and no one has a clue about Easwari or her two kids. "Shift changed, Madam," I was told politely, but with clinical indifference. I'm determined, though, to get to the bottom of this. Easwari needs to go home.

* * *

I've got some pictures up from my Koothu visit of last week on my photoblog. Intended to write about it, but I guess it is one of those things that will not be. This set of pictures is, say, like a teaser trailer. I have some better pictures which I took, but it may be a while before I can put them on.

* * *

I love the fragrance of jasmine. Surprisingly, even when it is in my hair, in the odd instances when it gets there. As it is now.


Friday, March 11, 2005

What's in a (nick)name?! *&*&%!?

I don't know how many of you have this thing happening in office, but it is pretty common where I work. The annoying practice of referring to inviduals by initials.
Actually, not that annoying if you have good initials, but disgusting if you have the wrong set of letters that your name begins with. That could be pretty unfortunate, yes.
I think this nomenclature pattern began with people obliged to have a set of initials to identify their work, their stories, especially when working on the computer. But it also makes sense not to waste too much energy on names such as say, Sivaramakrishnan or Venkataramanan. In an attempt to conserve the nano second that it takes to complete the name and the negligible horse power we spend trying to say it, they became SRK or maybe, KVN.
In fact, I know some people who have come to be known ONLY by their initials. So much so, their real-long-winded names only have a place in yellowing bits of once-important paper - the school TC; their family cannot remember their original names so they are reffered to as 'MRK Mama,' 'KV Chithappa.'
It still does not matter if you don't mind it. I also know some people that have really cool initials like SAM, KAT, and probably more 'in' than their real names. But I dont. My initials are RMK, yeah, I know... like DMK. Not that I have anything against the DMK, I'm sure it is a nice name for a political party and all that. But for an apolitical, secular, democrat like me, aw, it's a hat that does not fit. And I'm not even a saree store.
I do try to get people not to call me that, but the ones that are used to only initials cannot really help themselves. And so they go, "RMK this, " and "RMK that" like Old McDonald, while I try not to think of myself as a political party, an engineering college or a saree store, hoping I won't burst a blood vessel trying.
It's a good thing I cover the health beat, because the possibilities that I do (burst a vessel, that is ) are not very remote. Aaarrrrghhhh.... There goes another one again... AARRMMMKAY...
When will you stop calling me THAT! @#$%&*

P.S. Don't YOU start now!


Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Of sheep and speech

I don't think I planned it this way, but it's truly been Shivarathri for me!
I started work at around 8-30 a.m. after having gone to sleep at about 2 a.m. the previous night and I'm still working. It's about 2-30 a.m. on March 9 now.
In the insonmiac flux I live in, I seem to have finally conquered time: today is yesterday is tomorrow.
Nevermind that. I started telling you what a grand day this was. Er...March 8 was. The generality of journalism makes our lives quite chaotic and interesting; If I'm covering an expert talking on the human genome project today, it often happens that I cover a conference on sheep shearing in Australia tomorrow. No offense meant to either sheep or the gene. We merely take both in our stride.
Come to think of it, its a bad example, post Dolly and all, the gene's the sheep and the sheep's the gene. But I guess you get the general drift.
As we drift on then, like this, there comes a moment in time when we shrug out of that slump and sit up in our chairs. Quite unexpectedly it hits us. As it did today, without warning.
It was at the Madras Management Association's Women Managers Forum event for International Women's Day. And things were proceeding along their predictable sheep-rearing path, until former Union Minister Margaret Alva took the dias by storm. Everybody in a slump sat up and listened as the woman spoke forcefully on women's rights.
And then came Kiran Bedi (with whom I have a picture. I'm getting better at celebrity-hunting these days!) and as if it were a bonanza, next came Union Minister of State for Tourism, Renuka Chowdhury. I do not have to elaborate about the 'Supercop', but I could say I was floored completely by Renuka Chowdhury - master orator.
I could not do justice to her if I were to recount what she said, so I will not even attempt to. I will say it my way, the way I SAW, not heard it happen. All orators seek to establish links with the audience they are speaking to. As Renuka Chowdhury spoke, I could almost physically see the link
form right across the auditorium, linking her with every hearing person in the audience. As the words rolled off her lips, they hurriedly floated across to strengthen that link, with which she toyed with the audience, joking now, smirking then, tugging at their heart strings, having them eat from her hands.
How do I manage to reach the sheep metaphor, again and again?
Here was a master artist at work and there I was watching her at her canvas. My hair stood on its edge. Like a sheep about to be sheared. :)

On my grand day, I'm inclined to be benovolent to all. Sheep included.

* * *

Wings, who I have enjoyed reading, has moved on, beyond her blog. Her "life has matured and risen far greater than a web page." Fare thee well, Wings. Your link will go out of my blog roll, but some of your words will continue to roll through my head.

Life Goes on in the Blog...

Vanitha, who I am happy to have introduced to blogging and who claims to be a vampire by night and a sun-block- cum-coffee lover by day, also did away with her blog. Not by design though. Therefore, another blog is up again, and since it has been a long time since I said this, May the Force be with her!

Now, Van, I take cheques too!


Wednesday, March 02, 2005


Doodle failed. It was not a fine day when all our chat windows closed, all by them selves.
The Doodle is Dead. Long Live the Doodle.

But some good comes of everything, I guess, and the grass is greener on the other side. Which is why I have that fancy green-to-match-my-skin shout box now. I am tempted to think it looks better than before. And, it works. At least for now. If it does stop, we'll find something to thwart the system again.
In the web, there are always many ways.

* * *

I'm amazed by the utter lack of self preservation among a couple of boys who stopped traffic on Mount Road, as they chased each other on Chennai's busiest arterial road. They could have died. And they were probably only 9 or 10 years old.
Thankfully, I dont have to say Rest In Peace at the end of this post. But they might not be so lucky another day.

* * *

I've got just above a 20,000 hits. It took me six months and all of you to get here.
This is not going to be an anniversary post yet, there are six more months to go, but bloggers all, thanks for stopping by and adding value to my current obsession. :)


Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Teething troubles

how they ogle at me:
two rows of blue ceramic
teeth split wide open.

Did you know a tooth ache can kill you? Well, it nearly can. And if you have a bad heart, you could die when they try to fix your teeth. But before that, you could die just of the pain.
Cold, white, swelling in your head, smelling like clove oil.

I'm just over that doorstep. Small toothy mercy!

* * *

I think it was the idly post that did me in. Talking so much about food, fantasising so much about it, getting the NRIs miserable with merely the thought. That was sin. Tempting the Food Devil. You have to pay - instantly.

However, I might do it again, anyway. What's to keep me from writing. Even a very bad tooth does not stop me from drooling. :)
Though, obviously, for very different reasons.

* * *

If you like Thai food and you are in Chennai, LOTUS at The Park is an absolute must.

Ha! There. I could'nt resist! :)