Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A.R. Rahman, the simple person who is turning into a legend in front of our eyes!

I was looking for a song in 'you tube' and came across this video of A.R. Rahman! This song is one of my favourite song. Earlier it was available only in audio cd's, because this song was used at the end of the movie, 'Kannaththil Muththamittaal', a Mani Rathnam's film, while showing the credits. When I heard it in the radio for the first time, I liked it immediately. I had heard Rahman mentioning about this song as his favourite in many interviews. Now, he himself has acted in the video, which is very interesting, but if you watch him singing this song in Simi's programme, you will like it more! He did this video for a social cause 'Poetic Social Mission - Moving stars and Earth for Water'. Have anyone seen the Hindi version of this movie, 'A Peck on the Cheek'? Is there a Hindi version of this song?

This song is about world peace. I wonder if any translation is available? I couldn't get it. This is a very meaningful song.

The song is here:

I have been familiar with this boy from the 'Garden' advt. days. He did the ad. song for Garden sarees and everyone started enquiring about this boy...then Mani Rathnam introduced him to the music world through 'Roja'. Rest is history in a BIG way. Still, he is the same simple person. Why is he still like that, how the fame has not gone into his head, you can understand from this interview he gave to Simi Garewal, a few years back.

Simi Garewal is a person who makes her subject feel free and open up. You can see from her face how much she admires him, which has made Rahman to open up here. He was never been seen talking like this before or after.

I love his 'he he' small laughs, which has become very familiar, whenever he talks to the camera! I had tears in my eyes in many places, while watching this interview, with Simi. The pain is visible in his voice when he narrates his family background, which has helped him later in becoming a peace-loving, honest man, even after spending so much time in the film world. The vedeos are in 8 parts and can be seen in 'you tube' and know more about Rahman.

In this video, he dedicates 'Maa tujhe salaam' to his mother....then my favourite song, 'Vellai pookkal'... concluding with 'Jana gana mana'...

You can know from this interview, why he is so passionate while doing music for patriotic songs. He is a true Indian and becoming a legend in his own way... he always says, 'Yellaap pugazhum yiraivanukke' (all fame goes to the God)... can we see a more simpler person?

Long live, A.R.Rahman!

Edited to add on 25th Aug.'10: This is the video of KM Music Conservatory of AR Rahman, which is very very interesting. This is going to become a Music University, where all types of instrumental and vocal music is taught by trained teachers. Scholarships also will be given to the deserving students. Have a look, you will admire A.R. Rahman still more!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Thieves, Burglars, Stealers...how should we call these people?!

I googled this photo! Isn't it beautifulll? My kittens are here!

No, no, don't worry, no one has stolen our cats or kittens, yet, directly! 2 beautiful kittens went missing and we never saw them again...somebody must have 'taken' them home.

This is the story of our family's experience with different types of thieves through the years!

Is he looking scary enough? (googled photo!)

1. The thief who ran away with my treasures in our ration bag!

This happened around 1975! After my marriage, we were staying in a very old house, just two houses next to the Nungambakkam Police station in Chennai. I was working and on one Saturday morning I had left the house at about 7.30 am and my husband locked the house and left for work at around 9.30 am. When I came back home at 1.30 pm (half-a-day working day on Saturdays), the grill in the window (just plain straight rods and not very thick) next to our main door was bent nicely into a huge hole. We could have locked the inside room doors but we never did that (we were young, you know! I must remember this when youngsters make mistakes!). I went inside and noticed that my 5 Kg. rice bag which was kept in the kitchen was not there. The rice was lying scattered on the floor! Then I noticed that my 2 wedding sarees, some nice silver things which were given to me in my wedding (we had kept only that much in a suitcase at home!) etc. were missing. The thief must have put the things in the rice bag and absconded.

We complained to the police...

2. The thief who went off with my precious transistor in a bicycle looking back at me (with a smile?!):

When this happened, we lived in a three room ground floor house. The time must have been mid-morning. I was chatting with my neighbour in the second room (the rooms were in a straight line!). We noticed some movement in the front room, came out and saw no one there. We went out near the gate and looked out...we saw a man with something in his hand going on a bicycle...he looked back at me too! I and my neighbour came back and noticed that my transistor radio which I used to keep in an open shelf near the front door was missing and slowly it dawned in my mind that the thief was holding it in his hand when I saw him!

If I had shouted somebody would have stopped his bicycle!

3. Motorbike thief:

One night we heard some sound outside our house! We noticed in the morning that my husband's first Motorbike, a Rajdoot, was gone! My husband 'paid' Rs.500 to the police and he found it in some workshop, completely dismantled! My husband lost interest to claim it, but the policeman was after him...he wanted to make some more money out of this case!

4. Chain Snatcher:

My husband was sleeping near an open window and his chain was snatched at night through the window. He is very sensitive even while sleeping and could feel the hand on his neck. As soon as the chain was 'gone', we woke up immediately and went out and saw no one.

The next day a policeman came to enquire after we complained. He came straight into our hall crossing our dog, Andy, who was sitting on the first doorstep, watching some crows which were sitting on our gate. The policeman heard our story and asked, "thirudan varachche inda periyavar yenna pannindu irundaar? Ippa naa ulle varachche vedikke paaththa maadiri pannaaraa?" (What did this old man do when the thief came inside? Was he watching like he is doing now, when he came too?)! Our Andy barks if he sees someone with a dirty lungi and that person should come in front of his eyesight...this old man will never get up and chase people, that too, if he came in a full pant!

This policeman 'selavukku' (for expenditure!) took Rs.500 and the story was over! My husband named the thief 'Somasundaram', just for fun and we were asked to close the doors and windows to be careful, otherwise Somasundaram would come to steal!

5. Car thief...this one is the top story and so, I have kept it as the last story (we didn't loose anything after that!):

This happened nearly 15-17 years back! My husband had bought a second hand Ambassador car as soon as he started his business. He had a feeling that it was a lucky car and though we had bought a new car afterwards, he kept this car with him. Suddenly one day he decided to repair it and it came home like a brand new car, with nice upholstery, stereo, beautiful interior, A/C etc. We must have used it for 6 months or so.

One day when he came home from his office, he noticed his nephew's car parked just in front of our gate. He left his car behind that car and came in and asked his nephew to park the car a bit further the road. The nephew said that he was just leaving and as it happens always, stood near the door and chatted for 5-10 mts. Then he opened the gate, started to get inside his car and looked behind and asked, "Yenge maama unga car?"(maama, where is your car?). My husband who was standing near the gate peeped out and saw the empty space! The car was gone! My husband had left the key in the ignition and came in, thinking that he would come back immediately to park the car inside the gate!

Immediately some of our neighbours came out and started discussing about what would have happened. One neighbour said that some people with white dhoti and white shirt, who looked like politicians were leaning on our car and chatting. We saw such people standing together, a few feet away and chatting. We went and asked them if they had seen anyone driving our car. They said no.

As usual we complained to the police, gave some money for 'expenditure', but nothing happened.

I was upset about this episode more because a new cello (water bottle) and my favourite 'Guna' film song cassette was inside the car! I quoted this often and later on, it became a big joke in our family circle...Sandhya did not get worried because she lost the beautiful car, but got worried because she lost her 'Guna cassette'!

Now, tell me, have you ever faced these types of thieves in your life?!

Edited to add on 19.08.10: Guna film song which is my favourite!

Monday, August 9, 2010

1982 Asiad vs Commonwealth Games - were we less corrupt with a bit of a conscience then?

Today morning I read in 'india tweets', an article by Ugich Konithari. I felt sick mentally, looking at the state of affairs of our Sports Ministry. Every politician is soaked in corruption upto their necks. Nothing seems vulgar for them now. The only aim is to make money in ANY way. Is it because the Head of our Government hasn't got time or inclination to control the deterioration of our country in all spheres?

I felt a bit of a relief when I read this article in The Times of India. Let us console ourselves reading this article. Was Indira's Governance better than the current one at least in conducting the IX Asiad in 1982? Be happy like me, reading this positive side of some of our politicians!

Sometimes it only takes a single event to tell success from failure. Or the men from the boys. In 1982, it was the flooding of an Asian Games venue.

It happened on November 19. The ope
ning ceremony had just ended and Rajiv Gandhi was sitting in his special organizing committee (SOC) office at Pragati Maidan in the Capital with aides Arun Nehru and Arun Singh. As head of the organizing committee, the IXth Asian Games were Gandhi's first public assignment.

It was around 7.30 in the evening. The three men were watching a replay of the opening ceremony on colour television, which incidentally had been introduced in India specially for the Games.

It had started to pour right after the Games' opening ceremony. As the men watched TV, a young bureaucrat in Rajiv's technical committee informed him that the roof of the weightlifting venue — Asiad Centre in the Village — was leaking. He said the arena was flooded.

This was disastrous news. An event was scheduled for the very next day at the weightlifting venue.

Rajiv and the two Aruns — together they were known as the troika — rushed to the Asiad Village.

It was Indira Gandhi's birthday, but Rajiv didn't go home to help celebrate his mother's birthday.

Jagmohan, then lieutenant-governor of Delhi, was asked to help supply labour. It was late but by 10 pm, Jagmohan had got 1,000 men together. By 10 next morning, the Asiad Centre had been resurrected. Rajiv and the two Aruns stayed at the venue through the night. A lot was at stake. Asiad was the only big sporting event India had hosted.

It is a reminder of the level of commitment of the men who organized Asiad 1982. Compare this with the current situation. The Commonwealth Games Organizing Committee (OC) is headed by Suresh Kalmadi and he has been doing the rounds of television studios, defending some of his allegedly tainted cronies and their suspect deals. He says the OC cannot take charge of stadiums till they are complete and it is not their business to ensure the work gets done.

Read more:

Asiad '82 had many firsts to its credit. It was the first time India saw world-class infrastructure. Apart from stadiums and sporting arenas, Delhi got its first flyovers. The detailing that went into the construction of stadiums speaks volumes about the vision of the people associated with the Games.

When it was built, the newly built Indraprastha Stadium (now renamed after Indira Gandhi) was the largest free-span indoor stadium in Asia and Europe and the third largest in the world, after the Astrodome in Houston, Texas and the Superdome in New Orleans.

The stadium, which hosted gymnastics and badminton events during Asiad, was carefully conceived keeping in mind India's unique history . It was located at roughly the same place that the Pandavas built their legendary capital, Indraprastha, 4,000 years ago.

"The Asiad Stadia", a book brought out by the National Book Trust immediately after Asiad 1982, says that within the grandeur of IG stadium one finds an Amravati recreated. The ruins of Ferozshah Kotla are adjacent to the stadium and there stands an Ashoka Pillar, which was brought by Ferozshah from Topra in Ambala. The book describes how Sharat Dass, the stadium's architect, drew an axis starting from the pillar and at a 45-degree angle on the Ring Road and then selected the central point of the stadium on this axis. The axis was meant to be the approach road to the stadium, allowing spectators to see the Ashoka Pillar against the sky. This is an excellent example of the minute detailing for the Asiad.

In 1982, then prime minister Indira Gandhi took personal interest in preparations for the Games.

The article concludes like this: Pity, Suresh Kalmadi and his team forgot their history lesson.

Will any leader bring back the old glory (at least in some areas - Indira also has done many grave mistakes in her tenure), which will make us proud of our own country? Now, the whole world must be laughing at us, for the current bungling in CWG.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away!

This is so true. I was overwhelmed when I saw the photos and read the email today, from my niece. First, I thought that I will just 'forward' it to my friends. But on second thoughts, I wanted to write about the love which is seen in the eyes of the animals in these photos.

A baby hippopotamus that survived the tsunami waves on the Kenyan Coast has formed a strong bond with a giant MALE, century-old tortoise in an animal facility in the port city of Mombassa, officials said.

The hippo, nicknamed Owen, weighing about 300 Kgs. was swept down Sabaki River into the Indian ocean, then forced back to the shore when tsunami waves struck the Kenyan Coast on Dec. 26th, 2004, before the wildlife rangers rescued him.

"It is incredible. A less than a year old hippo has adopted a male tortoise and the tortoise too seems to be very happy with being a 'mother'. After it was swept away and lost its mother, the hippo was traumatised. It had to look for something to be a surrogate mother. Fortunately, it landed on the tortoise and established a bond. They swim, eat and sleep together!", says, Ecologist Paula Kahumbu, who is in charge of the Lafarge Park.

This looks like 'the mother taking the child to school'!

"The hippo follows the tortoise exactly the way it followed its real mother. If somebody approached the tortoise, the hippo became aggressive, as if protecting its biological mother", she added.

Proud 'mother' with the half asleep baby!

"The hippo is a young baby, he was left alone at a tender age and by nature, the hippos are social animals that like to stay with their moms for 4 years.", Paula says.

The tortoise is lifting himself up to say that he is the 'mother' and bigger! I love this photograph!

'Mother' is sleeping and the baby is peeping to check!

'Mother' and son expressing their love to each other! Lovely picture!

Isn't this 'the best'?!

This is a real story that shows that our differences do not matter much when we need the comfort of another being.
I googled for more news on this 'mother/father and son' duo and have added more pictures of them from this link.

Are the monkeys, son's friends?!

'Mother' and son are sleeping and the friendly deer is keeping an eye on the peeping toms!

The monkeys, the deer...all are friends here, no enemies at all, unlike us, human beings! All of us humans look alike, still the people from one state are not tolerating people from other states of the same country. We can learn some lessons from these creatures of god, who has created us too.

P.S.: This link says that as of 2005, the hippo Owen and Mzee, the tortoise, are still together and the zoo officials are planning to introduce Owen to a 13 year old female hippo, who had been alone for more than 10 years...(the baby hippo is growing up, his 'mother' can be 'prroud' of him! Let me check if he is having a family now!).

No, I couldn't find any latest news about them but we can see a few more pictures of them in this video...enjoy!

Many of you might have seen these pictures, still, enjoy watching them once more!

Edited to add : Happy Friendship Day to all my friends!
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