Monday, December 31, 2012

The Economy 'Glass'

This is my third overseas travel in 6 years and to the same place again. But what is so unique is about this one is that I am traveling without a return ticket. This time, I am off to Detroit, MI, USA for a new position offered by our organization's US wing, LMS North America. Having lived a very social life outdoors in Chennai recent years, it was an opportunity to shake my butt off the lazy routine and get some serious learning and little savings. While I lift my life from a happy life to comfortable life, there are lot of others I encountered in the travel going from struggle to self-containment or conflict to peace.

As you can see, the Economy class travel is a transparent glass with not much concealing as the First class or Business class. I had over 24 hours to reach my destination and filled with lot of entertainment out through the glass. While I jumped a long queue of 20+ passengers waiting to check-in, just because I checked-in already online, I had other factors to slow me down. While I filled in those immigration forms, started helping a barber flying to Muscat all the way from Kambam. Soon landed up helping fill forms for half a dozen of them flying in Emirates Airlines to Sharjah or else where through. All of them helpers, drivers, carpenters and masons from Trichy, Orathanadu, Cuddalore, etc. That is what I defined as struggle to self-containment.

While I cherished the 'extra leg room' upgrade offered for free on the fly to Hong Kong with a Indian student on the route to Los Angeles who slept for most of the time, I did not miss the young mother with an infant on her lap for 90% of the fly time and even managed to eat holding the heavy tray of food in one hand and the baby still sleeping on her elbow and lap. No cribbing. No smiling. Just a neutral face all the way.

Got an extra 30 mins on what was supposed to be a 50 mins layover in Hong Kong. Huh.. a 14 hour fly is still pending! Happy to have the adjacent seat empty and a comfortable aisle seat. My first conversation was to help a totally confused young lad in the other aisle seat when he was handed over the Immigration and customs declaration forms. The boy was 21 from Bangladesh, traveling with his mom to US and could not even express what Visa he was traveling on. Initially degraded down on my English to help him understand what those forms are meant for and he was so ignorant that he said that his sister in Chicago would come and fill the forms for him after reaching the destination. Later he got to know that I am from India and we agreed to communicate in Hindi that we both agreed to crusade by the end of the travel. The younger chatterbox was downplaying Bangladesh all his talks and told a lot about his family with brothers settled in UK, sister settled in US and his dad who took treatment in Apollo Hospitals, Chennai 10 years ago and passed away later in Dhaka. Only while reading his Passport to fill the immigration forms, I realized that he was traveling in an immigrant Visa and his old mom already had a Green card. This young lad wants to get settled in US, far away from Bangladesh where their family had been through catastrophes. This is what I defined as conflict to peace. 

The long 4 hours layover in Chicago turned out to be a 5.5 hours layover. A whole lot of respects to the mothers who travel all alone with hyperactive kids managing to feed them, convince them and walk/roll them from one gate to another every time it is changed. The little I can do was to help pull their extra cabin baggage from one gate to another.

After celebrating Christmas across 4 cities, here I am in Detroit finally!!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

'ழ' - தமிழரின் நாப்பழக்கம்

"சித்திரமும் கைப்பழக்கம், செந்தமிழும் நாப்பழக்கம்."

'ழ' கபே: சுவரும்  சுற்றமும் சித்திரமாய் தமிழ் மணக்க, சுண்டலும் சிக்குக்காபியுமாக நாவிலும் தமிழ் மணமே. 

போரூர் 'ழ' கபே: நண்பர்களின் 'ழ'-கரத்தை பிழை திருத்தி நா-பிரண்டு போக, நாக்கு வறண்டு விட்டது என தமிழ் உணவு பரிமாறல் தொடங்கியது. முதல் தட்டிலேயே கல்லூரி காலத்தில் அந்த டீக்கடையில் அகவுன்ட் வைத்து ருசித்தப் பதார்த்தங்களும், பள்ளிப்பருவத்தில் எட்டணாவுக்கு பாட்டி கையில் வாங்கிய பண்டங்களும் அடுக்கடுக்காய் அணிவகுத்தன.

பொறி உருண்டை, கடலை மிட்டாய், அரிசி மிட்டாய், பல்லி மிட்டாய், எள்ளு உருண்டை, ரஸ்க், பிஸ்கட் வகைகள் என ஒரு புறம விரல் இனிக்க; வாழைப்பூ வடை, மிளகாய் பஜ்ஜி என சுவை சுரப்பிகளின் தேவைகள் சமன் செய்யப்பட்டது. கூடவே நொறுக்க கடலையும் பட்டாணியும்.

நாவுக்கும் விரல்களுக்கும் சிறு ஒய்வு தேவை எழ, ஆங்க்ரி பேர்ட்ஸிலும், எக்ஸ் பாக்சிலும் தொலைந்து போன சிந்தனைகளுக்கு ஆறுதலாக பல்லாங்குழி, ஆடு-புலி ஆட்டம், பரமபதம், தாயம் - என கிராமத்து விடுமுறைகளை நினைவு கூறிய சில விளையாட்டுகளை கை பார்த்தோம்.

  • இசைஞானியின் முடிவில்லா - திகட்டா இசை..
  • கரகாட்டக்காரன் "சொப்பனசுந்தரி", வைகைப்புயல் வடிவேலுவின் "கைய புடிச்சு எழுத்தியா?" - போன்ற மறக்க முடியாத முத்துக்களை நினைவு கோறும் கலை அமைப்பு..
  • "ஜலபுல ஜன்க்ஸ்", "டிக்கிலோனா", "ஸ்பூன் லிங்க்ஸ்" என பெயரிட்ட குளிர்பானங்கள்..
- இவை வேறு எந்த நவீன "Coffee Shop"-களிலும் கிடைக்காத தமிழ் சினிமா ரசிகர்குளுக்கான தாயின் மடி சுகம்.

 பேச்சுக்கும், சிரிப்புக்கும் இடையே, அடை - வெல்லம், இனிப்பு/கார அவல், அதிரசத்தில் வாழைப்பழமும் தேனும் சேர்ந்த இனிப்பு என பெயர் மறந்து போன பல பலகாரங்கள் அணிவகுத்தன.

தமிழ்நாட்டு உணவுப்பண்டங்களும் நொறுக்குத்தீனிகளும் தேநீர் கடைகளையும், தட்டுக்கடைகளையும் தாண்டி சுகாதாரணமான முறையில் பரிமாற வேண்டும், இளைய தலைமுறைக்கு கொண்டு சேர்க்கவேண்டும் என்ற எண்ணத்துடன் இந்த உணவகத்தை தொடங்கியதாக கூறினார் அதன் நிறுவனர்களின் ஒருவரான அரசி.

பேச்சும் உணவும் சேர்ந்து தாகம் தொடங்க, நீண்ட இடைவெளிக்குபிறகு "நன்னாரி சர்பத்". நாக்கை பல், உதடு என கிடைத்த இடைவெளியில் எல்லாம் விட்டு சுவைத்துத் திளைத்தேன். ரோஸ் மில்க், பனங்கற்கண்டு பால், சுக்குக் காபி, கருப்பட்டி காபி, என பானங்களின் அம்சங்களிலும், நகர வாழ்க்கையினின்று வெகுதூரம் பயணித்த உணர்வு.

குளிர்ச்சியில் கிளர்ச்சியாக குல்பி!!

பாரம்பரிய மற்றும் சிறுநகர உணவுகளோடு, காட்டி ரோல், சுண்டல் சாண்ட்விச், மாகி நூடில்ஸ், சீஸ் பால்ஸ் போன்ற நவீன மற்றும் கலப்பு செய்யப்பட உணவுகளும் கிடைக்கின்றன.

'ழ' - நீண்ட நாட்களுக்குப் பிறகு, ஒரு கிராமுத்து விடுமுறை அனுபவித்த பரவசம்.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

3 - Tripolar Disorder

Bound to the responsibility of saving the wallet of my friends and sanity of their valuable weekend, writing this quick review.

Was reluctantly reading all tweets and mixed reviews about the movie since the morning on Friday. But I always have a very open mind when I move into the theater.

The movie starts with Janani (Shruthi) rolling into her flashback of puppy love in school days with Ram (Dhanush). Cinematic romance scenes of the school days visibly shows the influence of Selvaraghavan in the sets or on the scripts which he corrected being the master at home before the story went on to the board exams - the actual shooting. Anirudh already treated the ears with his music album and sounds definitely promising in the back ground score with a unique scale. Siva Karthikeyan portrays the only entertaining part of the otherwise less used strong army of casting that includes Prabhu, Banupriya and Rohini. The chemistry between Ram and Janani looks so charming with overflowing romance at many instances making us go back and recall the gossips in many Tamil weeklies.

If you have already booked the tickets for your movie, stop reading here and read the rest after coming back from the movie.

All the good I felt about the movie stops here by the intermission a.k.a opportunity of escape.

I can bet that Dhanush has donned the highest number of psychopathic roles in Tamil. May be the wifey thought that it is the best that he can do and filled the second half with a lot of it - all under the name of Bipolar disorder. I am expecting a lot of objection from the segments of Hindu religious groups when two youngsters left loose by both families tie thaali in a pub among a bunch of boys and girls dancing with drinks. Ram tries to hide his disease from Janani with the help of his friend and the journey runs through the second half narrated with a bunch of scenes derived and modified from Selvaraghavan's other movies. The much awaited Kolaveri song comes and goes like many other dapaanguthu song by the drunk hero.

Dhanush needs no lesson to act as mentally ill and he does it well. Just that it comes too often disturbing the mind of audience. Shruthi looks good as the charming school girl in the romance. If not read, Shruthi must at least refer some pages from her father's book on things like How to speak Tamil? and How to cry? 

The movie ends with a slide saying, "Suicide is not the solution for Bipolar disorder". Yes it is not. MURDER IS!! Murder of the audience. While Ayshwarya read the books of her Brother in law on screen play at occasions, she took the art of story telling from her father. Remember Valli? Baba? The movie can very well be watched and understood very well by running in Fast Forward mode.

3 - Tripolar Disorder. One is story, Two is direction and Three is house full (fool?) audience. As every audience coming out asked, Why this Kolaveri?

Aaha!! - r

2 weeks due since I had to write down the feelings of my tongue then on that day.

Got to visit Aahar, the new veggie dining option added to the authentic veg crowd of Mylapore along with the fellow folks of Chennai Food Guide.

The long list of menu varies from South Indian to North Indian and overseas to the Indo-chinese options. The dinner started with a rich spicy Mulligatawny Soup and then a platter of salads and starters running through all varieties of the cuisine.

 Noodles salad

Paneer Tikka

Paruppu vada

 Podi Idly

 While every one of them stood good by taste a couple of items stood longer on my taste buds. Noodle salad and Podi Idly. True that the restaurant had a special recipe for the 'Podi' used and the one of the signature dishes they claimed, the 'Podi Dosa' is a treat when you crave for hot spices.

Podi Dosa

The North Indian  name of the restaurant has no disappointment across the Bread Basket or the accompanies Rajma Dhaal, Paneer Shahi Korma or Mili Juli Subji.

Many of the long tongued friends across the table felt that the Veg. Biriyani was as good as a well made Chicken Biriyani void of the chicken. I loved what ever it was as is with no other Biriyani in my mind to compare.

Nishanth and couple of others who had been already there kept on talking about the 'ghee floating' carrot halwa they had during their previous visit. We tried out Carrot halwa and Gulab Jamoon - warm to to warm up the dessert course and cooled down the evening with Basunthi.

The quality of service and challenging pricing in the menu card will soon put Aahar as a place of choice over just being another option for veggie food lovers of South Chennai. 

The place also offers South Indian meals for lunch and open from 7 AM to 11 AM. The banquet hall is already busy with a lot of parties and functions and the biggest plus of the building is full exclusive space for parking in the ground floor.

Location: Just opposite to Sathya furniture and adjacent to Scientific publishers on the road from Luz to Royapettah.

Not to miss: Podi Dosa, Podi Idly, Veg Biriyani and Carrot halwa.