Saturday, August 23, 2008

The ineligibility of my Bachelorhood

I don't know why my life seems quite cinematic right now. The previous post about my corporate party was one of success (quite cinematic at that, too).

PS Warning: If you're not one for tragedies or not-so-happy movies, then this post probably isn't a good read for you. Yes, it's a sad story, not the typical happy-go-lucky kind of story which has a happy ending. In fact, this one's tragedy is quite entertaining, though there is, thus far, no ending. So if you don't mind entertainment even if it's sad, stay on.

Male/23/Tamil Vadama/S/W Engineer-USA (5-figure salary)/Never Married/Teetotaler/Strict Vegetarian/Orthodox Brahmin Boy seeks girl with "a few" 'qualities'.

(PS 1.1: Remember that English lesson we learnt in school way back explaining the difference between "a few" and "few"?

PS 1.2: Note the different quotes.)

Ladies and gentlemen, mama's and mami's, machan's and machi's - NO, that is Just Not a sought-after profile in matrimonial circles nowadays. Absolut No. What a misleading world this is! There was no specific intention to publish this post on this particular day, I'd started this a few weeks back, it was on the back-burners, but now that the time has come, I chuckled at the coincidence and thought – let's increase the comedy.

But yes, the profile you saw above is actually a major misnomer - both from the point of view of the type of guy who advertises it and the girl who reads it. Girls these days, though externally professing such desires (the number on the other side, i.e. those that openly say that they dont want such guys - is also on the rise). Since the post refers to Brahmin guys, let's just also restrict our scope of girls to Brahmin girls, since they are most likely (or should it be least unlikely?) to read through more, given such a profile. So yes, many of today's girls actually look for much more (Well, it's actually good that they look for much more, but what 'much more' is, is what matters). Gone are the days when girls looked for guys with a decent enough pocket who are quite contented with life and tend to think about "higher" things. One recent case was of a friend's cousin (girl) who works in an IT company back home (yeah, where else?) getting a relatively decent paycheck of about 30K whom a guy had seen (not the "seeing", more of "paakkardhu" type :D). Incidentally, the guy, though earning more than the girl, was in the immediate vicinity as far as financial consideration was concerned. So our girl rejects him saying she was looking at raking in 50K in another couple of years, and that the guy did not have much chance to rake in the moolah by a larger deal. That's that.

Then, there's the issue of being "modern". Even "aacharamaana namblava aathu ponnu"s from W.Mambalam and Mylapore and Nanganallur insist on wearing Jeans and T-shirts and what-not, irrespective of their size or the feel-good-factor. And I’m confronted with - "It's time you grow up, stop thinking like a 1950's mama. There's nothing wrong in doing it as long as it isn't bad or vulgar." Adiyei, It's just not about that. Why the heavens do you want to do something that is not bad just because you feel HAVE to do it? Why do you want to do it when you are perfectly comfortable with how you are right now?

And then, there's this concept of beliefs. No no, I'm not even going to touch upon Brahminism or anything. Simple aspects like eating non-veg, drinking, smoking, etc. It was shocking for me to learn about the overwhelming majority of namblava aathu ponnunga who were not even slightly bothered about any of this. Well, "thankfully we are not into any of it" they say. =)) And, sometimes, it's a matter of pride to do it (thanni-non veg) in social circles. "Ada aama pa...marandhe poitten".

And of course - Amarikka aasai. Settle aaganumaama. Green card vaanganumaama. Kadavul bhakti vera - almost like non-veg, et al. They have it, they are not too bothered about whether their husbands have it.

History of the accident and geography of the incident - read college kasa-musa's of the girl (increasingly increasing) should be strictly ignored. And they are not bothered much about the guy's as well.

And then -

Well, of course, I'm not (yet) dumb enough to purely believe the usual sleaze-related bullshit TimesOfIndia regularly churns out. But...(read BUT)

Ennavo ponga pa. Idhukku mela enna solla? Nalla pasanga innum indha oorla irukkaanga. Guys who actually mean such stuff do exist. But girls who expect such stuff don’t seem to, rather…are either already taken or are rapidly diminishing.

I feel old. I feel philosophical. I feel funny. I feel old-fashioned. I feel outdated. I feel like a rebel rebelling against rebels. I feel out of place. I feel single.

And that’s why I know I am the most ineligible bachelor in the world right now.

And I feel good.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Of Blood and Water

Something Tejaswi, Keshav and I have talked a lot about. Tejaswi always kept telling us that "Blood was thicker than water" - about relatives and friends. Well, I've thought quite a lot about this, pretty interesting actually, if you think. Lots of experiences, many interesting, some disheartening. Let me play a smart ass and not say my opinion explicitly, but these are some "quotes" which I chanced to say, during another of our discussions. Quite obvious, actually, what they mean, still, I'm not saying the words exactly :P.
  • Blood may be thicker than water and have a greater stain, but it is water which washes off all wounds (including the stain of blood from the body).
  • Blood always comes out only when there is an injury. Water is always there for us.
  • We dont get to choose the blood that flows in us, but we get to choose the water that we drink. If we drink impure water, that's our mistake, we should have been more careful, no point in blaming the water or saying Blood is thicker.
Even my dad actually supports blood...But yes, the water definitely needs to be pure.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Alone against all odds...

I remember reading a quite inspiring story called "Alone against the flames" by a woman called Tracy Aubin. It was one of the "lessons" we had as part of the English subject, I guess either in 11th std or 9-10th. The story was about how a woman met with an accident on a hot afternoon in a deserted location somewhere in Australia, and I think she had a few kids, and how the car caught fire, and she was in unimaginable pain and she managed to get her kids out in time as the car burst into flames, and how she managed to hang on to dear life for a few hours, in desperate pain, until someone just came by.
With all due respect to the courageous lady, her story was an inspiration.

This article is about the courage and determination of one he faced a do-or-die situation to save his face and he faced ignominy and overcame he eventually battled all odds to emerge successfully.
Yes This story is about me and my first corporate party experience...alone.
It all began when my company sent out an invite to the annual company party. Having no prior corporate party experience yet, knowing the associated "procedures", my initial excitement was soon replaced by anxiety. "What would I wear" was one of the questions that popped up in my head, but since I'm not exactly horrendous with my dressing (despite my utter lack of fashion-consciousness), the dressing-associated trepidation subsided. Then, the real thing. It is more or less a practice here for people to attend parties (in general...corporate parties, in particular) with their spouse, boy/girl-friend, a date or at least, a person from the other sex. Since the first three cases are (obviously absolutely) not applicable to me, the only case even remotely applicable (if any) to me happened to be the fourth one. I further understood that to take a girl to a party, neither do you need to have any remotely romantic affiliations to her, nor do you need to be someone well acquainted with her. Let's just say it's enough if you don't feel uncomfortable in her company. (PS: This isn't a bad way to start off, in case you are contemplating "attempting" anything with the girl.) Or if you're the really gregarious free-moving or kadalai type, you just don't need to know the girl at all. But since I think twice before even saying Hi to a girl I know (but don't know well), I basically had to consider girls whom I knew even somewhat decently and did not feel uncomfortable with. But since the girls I know well, am good friends with and talk to quite frequently all happen to be old college classmates from MSEC, none of whom is nearby, I (sadly) could not consider them. The only other old-acquaintance not-uncomfortable candidate was one of my juniors who had come here recently for her Masters, but since I presumed she would not be familiar with the harmlessness of this exercise as also the fact that since she wasn't as close to me as my classmate-girls and since she happens to be another middle-class Brahmin girl from "our background" and since I've had some not-so-good-experiences with her circle, despite the girl being a definitely decent & nice type, besides being a good sport, I didn't want to risk anything. Now, in case you didn't know, my female contacts here in Chicago are zilch, well, almost. There is absolutely one girl I respect at IIT and since she is semma innocent and paavam type (also attested by my
roomie Dhesikan), and since I would definitely feel uncomfortable going with her, despite her good nature, I had to rule her out. The final candidate was this not-very-goody type of girl here (my roomie's occasional part-time daavu, but his strong recommendation too) with whom I have spoken occasionally. She isn't bad looking either, and I have known quite a few guys to have expressed admiring interest in her. Unfortunately, I didn't think it would be fair on my part to ask her since I haven't exactly been appreciative of her, mostly, (I abhor hypocrisy) as also this concept of introducing her to my colleagues. "Hey Whitney, this is my friend, *****." - wasn't a very encouraging prospect. My roomie, though, commented that more than one person would have been appreciative of my "catch", had I taken her. Quite possibly, but this never happened, and it probably was never meant to happen, and I'm thankful it didn't. :P Now there I was.
An interesting aspect here is this process of consideration. My besht friend (1.2) Tejaswi said he was very happy and surprised at my thought process. He apparently thought I being me wouldn't even embark upon such considerations, the conservative fellow that I "was"(:D). I actually feel it hasn't got much (if any) to do with any conservative mind-set, even considering a guy like me. For one, however averse I am to the idea of dating or "going out" with a girl I'm not serious about, this was neither a date nor a "seeing-her" type of thing, if I had taken some girl, that is. This was just a professional assignment and even if I had been able to zero in on a suitable "candidate", I don't think I would have done something which I wouldn't have, before...nor do I think this is an indication of some new-found openness in me. It was pure logic and the situation demanded a "logical" approach [k1 ;)], which, I
think I did. My besht friend (1.1) Kesh nods his head.After an intense round of considerations, I was back at square one, probably a couple of squares behind. Faced with the prospective ignominy of having to go alone, I started considering less advisable, nevertheless face-saving options like going with a guy. The options were more, in this case, but for some reason, I ended up asking Aswin (another roomie) who refused point blank, citing the normal reason most guys would state - that he thought it wouldn't be nice for a guy to accompany another - which, I felt, was a myth. Nevertheless, I wasn't keen on forcing anybody and since it was quite late, I didn't ask anyone else. On the last day of work before the D-Day, I asked my manager how pathetic my situation was, and if I could take a guy with me. He was quite cool about it and said I could bring along anybody I wanted. When I asked him about the opposite-sex thingy, he said it was a general habit here to bring someone from the opposite sex, but by no means was it a rule or a norm. Plus, he added something that was absolutely totally unthinkable to me-he said it would be fine even if I came alone.
It is often a tiny spark of inspiration and help that has often led to the most memorable of triumphs and victories for mankind.
I don't know if my boss' suggestion of going alone also being a possibility was that tiny spark of light which acted as a guiding light to me in my solo battle, but I know I will definitely look back to his words years from now, when I recount to Keshav's grand-kids (since it is the only sure event...Tejaswi's marriage seems a partly sure event with equal probability for both sub-events, though declining towards the negative...and mine seems almost a sure event...on the other side [=(]) fondly of this memorable battle of mine, 40 years from now. Emboldened, re-energized and ready-to-face-the-battle, I prepared to enter the arena on the historic August 16, 2008 (yes, a day after our Independence Day, my day of glory arrived).
"They are great souls who have well and truly conquered the demons of self-doubt" - this was sooo true in my case! A couple of minutes before actually entering the event, I just had to speak to Tejas - out of despair or anxiety or helplessness, I dont know. Still, Tejaswi, being my ever-faithful Surya, instilled further belief in me and gave me that last-minute push (which only a true friend can) along with self-confidence that I could do it. Thanks Teja! On I went. I was dressed in Black and Black, which I was told, was an official party dress. My company founder (An ultimate stud guy, both in looks and smartness and wonder...just 39 years old and a 11-year old company founded by him and billions) was at the entrance to welcome me. Anxiously, I shook hands with him, alone. The first few moments were actually pretty awkward. Like Dravid having to face a barrage of bouncers from Shoaib Akhtar. The next were quite unnerving. Like Dravid having to face McGrath in his second over. And then I grew in confidence. Grabbing a glass of cranberry juice, I was looking around for some decent company when I met my fellow new-hire, Ray and his wife. We started chatting up pretty casually, and as time passed, I was more assured. Yes, most of the people who came there were opposite-sex pairs, but still, for some reason, I was feeling better. Gradually, though, I did see people walk in with their friend, a model-like colleague of mine came with her mom (Mom, I assume). Still, most of my new-hire colleagues had managed to find someone to come with, from the opposite sex, even if they were single. But by now, I was ready to take on the world. Like Dravid feels when he has driven Brett Lee straight back past him with the straightest of bats, for a stunningly exquisite boundary, and completes the follow through and holds the bat in position for the cameras. The evening progressed, and I spoke to quite a few of my colleagues, and ate some fruits, apart from drinking more cranberry juice and another less innocent juice. The band played, I felt on top of the world. Interestingly, my desi colleague, Chaitra, had come with her husband, and she knew of my plight. But to my total surprise, her husband told me that they were discussing earlier in the day about getting me someone to accompany me (one of Chaitra's friends), but, they too had to cross out all the candidates and finally thought I was better off alone. (Sucks actually, how much ever I try not to be obvious and easy to understand, I just end up being this shockingly open and easy-to-read book). Kudos to them, though :D!
But yeah, there I was, at the end of the party, victorious, gallant and successful. Success is sweet, let me tell you.
And to all ye single guys out there (Girls...I will not address because I dont exactly know the plight of a "single" girl), never lose hope. You may have lost the battle, but you would have won the war.
My first ever corporate party experience. What a bummer, don't you think?

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Kuselan: Pure Bullshit

PS: Please note my referential tones to the Superstar.
It isn't often that you go to a movie with very low or no expectations...and still end up realizing it was so dumb you couldn't have gone there expecting how bad it could be. Of course, low expectations should not be equated to having a negative bias for the movie. Kuselan is a classic case in point. The title credits kind of set you for the movie - they show a lot of blades and scissors, and you get a little curious about why it seems like it is boring, the titles itself. Quite funny, because I felt bored during the credits, but the unintended pun (of blades) was pointed out to me by my friend SK. I wont run you through the entire movie and bore you more. Simply put, Vasu is one hell of a cheap bugger - money minded punk or what, I don't know. I am very tempted to use Tamil expletives on him, but since I am not used to them, and don't want to ruin this blog, I will not. But still, I am appalled at why Rajini even agreed to do this movie. Chandramukhi itself wasn't exactly a very well made movie, but it at least stuck to the plot, and did not deviate too much. It had masala, and was not boring. But looking back, it was pathetic direction too. Still, it's nowhere near how shitty Kuselan was, First, you cannot watch Kuselan for Rajini. Second, there isn't any spectacular performance by any of the actors - Pasupathy, who comes closest to some "acting", is reduced to performing one of the 3 actions throughout the movie - crying/cribbing to Meena, asking for a "loan" to improve his saloon and trying to get to Rajini, aka "Asok" [=))]. Pasupathy, Meena and his 3 kids barely resemble a family. You just dont get the feeling of a family of 5 looking at them. (I am not even going to comment on the quality of sarees Meena wears, despite Pasupathy's supposed poverty). The climax is where a semblance of something not totally ridiculous exists - Rajini doesnt perform brilliantly or anything, more so, the situation is a bit moving, and it's evident that Rajini no longer possesses the histrionic capabilities he once had, by way of his "efforts" at acting well. Make-up for Rajini sucks, blatant, period. From time to time, I really felt for "Katha Parayumbol". There is very little similarity to the original, and save two scenes, there is no reminder of any Malayalam movies. And those two scenes, incidentally, remind one not of the original, but another genre of Malayalam movies - yes, the two scenes in which Vadivelu (I'm quite exhausted of thinking how much he has cheapened himself) looks at his wife, and the other one in which he looks at Nayanthara. Now, as for Nayanthara, the transformation is complete. It's like she is just looking for an excuse to expose. Quite literally like Mallika Sherawat. Well obviously, the percentage of cleavage, etc - exposure of the two might not yet be the same, but that attitude and mind-set with which Nayanthara is acting nowadays reminded one of Mallika when she came to the field. I'm quite conservative, hence, even though I flinched at Nayanthara's scene in Billa, I wholly feel it was not out of the place, it quite fit into the scheme of things. Nayanthara's exposures in Kuselan were vulgar, blatant, cheap. Such blatant vulgarity, damn. Not to mention Pasupathy's elder daughter - call it perverted thinking or not, it quite seems that the main reason she is there in the movie is to arouse a few testosterones, she barely fits the description of a 10th grader. I felt kind of guilty initially, thinking I was thinking bad-bad things, but a quick confirmation with my "more educated" friends confirmed that her presence itself was more out of a perverted intention, than innocence or mere coincidence :P. So much so that, in the final scene when Rajini goes to Pasupathy's hut and tells them that he should come with his family to Rajini's place, Rajini goes straight to the eldest daughter, and the whole theater started laughing :D. On the whole, here, in Chicago, towards the end, all of us in the theater started mocking the movie big time. The one "sentimental" scene where Rajini talks about his friend in the school - where everybody weeps...AND some god-forsaken old lady cries...was just too much fun, the entire theater was in splits, it was so comical!
Overall, no more to say about this pointless venture. Sucks for Rajini. P Vasu doesnt deserve a consideration. Please dont remake Malayalam movies for some more time. Kuselan, pukeworthy.

Jaane Tu...Ya Jaane Na - I know...for sure...

I sort of take pride in what I write. And I generally write something if I badly want to express it (from what I know, I express myself best through words - writing...English) or it's something different...generally, a combination of the two.
I loved Jaane Tu, quite simply loved it. Nothing exceptional about the actors or the story-line, but one thing - every single person in the movie fit his or her role to the Tee - be it Shaleen or Jiggy or Aditi's parents. Mala was emotive too, but sometimes a bit irritating and overactive, still she was quite entertaining. But, apart from Jai and Aditi, the people who really fit their respective roles and stole the show were Jai's parents - Ratna Pathak Shah and Naseeruddin Shah, esp. Naseer as Amar Singh Rathod, wow!!! Rahman rocked, quite differently though. I fell in love with Kabhi Kabhi Aditi and Pappu Cant Dance, though, as usual (like Harry Potter), I was initially skeptical about both the movie and its songs and all the hype associated. Again, thanks to my dear Kesh, I watched Jaane Tu, and fell in love with it! Boy oh Boy, Imran Khan is CUTE! Despite my quite normal sexual orientation, I couldn't help but notice Imran's cuteness. And for a first-timer, he has done a wonderful job. The role probably did not demand much histrionic capability, but he was at ease with the role and essayed a truly likable performance. And after a long time, I loved Genelia's role. The best thing about her was this - she hasn't been tried to be portrayed as this amazingly beautiful or fall-flat-for cutey gal, her role took the cake. I was so sick of her role in Bommarillu (Santhosh Subramaniam), quite literally irritated. But in Jaane Tu, she had a role which was not exactly dumb, but definitely offered her a lot of scope to perform - and perform she a great extent. Her expressions are just awesome! Be it her facial features in Pappu Cant Dance (the moment right before she steps in to dance or the features when she says "Papa Kehte Hain") or her tone when she drops Meghna and asks Jai to come with her) - so damn adorable! Ya of course, if you're this sort of no-nonsense female or guy, you might tend to get irritated or scorn at her. But despite my supposedly "correct" stance and all, I really loved her character, which doesn't mean I admired every single thing she did. As for the movie itself, I've probably watched it like 4 times now. I kept wondering why I got hooked on to the movie so much. It's obvious that the movie's story-line is not something that happens in everyday college-life. Still, the way Abbas has handled the realization of each character of his "love" is quite admirable. More so, the concept that "love" is when you love spending time with the other person or simply enjoy the person's company, has been beautifully elucidated. Well, obviously, I didn't fall in love with Aditi, nor do I want a girl like her - but it's just about how he handled this budding love story between two quite-unlike characters. It pretty much transported me to another world - not necessarily something which I have gone through, but something which is very cute and adorable. I know I've been saying the same thing over and over again - my adjectives have pretty much revolved around - cute, adorable, beautiful, wonderful, admirable, etc., but the thing is - this was just what the movie was. The direction was some seriously good direction. Hats off to Abbas Tyrewaala.
And yes - I've started wondering if I've turn this softy kind of guy who enjoys mushy mushy romances, yes, no doubt I am chamathu to a major extent, but I was quite perturbed when I came across two girls (with whom it happens to be a necessity for me to interact, daily) who really did NOT like the movie! It definitely is understandable if everyone did not go GAGA over the movie or didn't fall as flat for it as me, but these two girls DISLIKED it! And the worstestst part was...they said they liked and enjoyed Boys. x-((((((((((((((((( >:PPPPPPPPPPPPPPPP
Now, that's kind of been something that has been bothering me for quite some time, ever since one of my close friends from college (a girl) said she liked Boys and said the movie kind of reflected what was happening predominantly in "our" society. I have become mature enough to understand that girls are generally required to "know" more about Adult stuff, but that just doesn't mean their thought process has to be perverted! (If you're this "girls rock" kind of female, I strongly advise you to close this tab right here right now, what I'm saying here will, in all probability, not reach you the way I want this stuff to be understood). Now my friends and I have discussed more than enough about the movie "Boys" and could arrive at no other conclusion than this - anyone who can even appreciate or like the movie for its entertainment is definitely not a totally non-perverted thinker. And it was quite shocking for me, among people who had a similar background to me, the people who came closest to liking "Boys" happened to be now, I am not judging girls just based on their taste for "Boys", but it was quite unbearable for me when a couple of girls said they didn't like Jaane Tu (bad enough...not unacceptable), but when they ALSO said they actually liked Boys, I just couldn't take it. And it's been somewhat this way with a lot of girls I am acquainted with. And let me add that the girls I interact/am acquainted with are of the top class, seldom can girls get better than them, serious! So, it's not just trivial things like liking Boys and disliking Jaane Tu, more their tone, sense of acceptance of nonsense, quasi-appreciation of externally screwed up guys (more often, internally too) that disturbs me, the dumb do-gooder, nay, good-should-happen-thinker that I am. Anyway, I think I've deviated quite a lot for a movie review. Hopefully some thought provoking writing, based on a movie. :D
Jaane Tu rocks!