Saturday, March 31, 2007

The Forgotten

(Tried a non-linear narrative. Try to visualize as much as possible)

March 31, 2007 (in Black and white)
"5000 Now. Another 5000 after the job is done". He accepted the money gleefully and thrust it in his pocket. This was indeed easy money than the job that he was doing. He never understood why politicians needed to carry out Bandhs, Processions, and burn effigies and so on. May be it was a part of their 'How-to-become-an-evil-and-successful' politician curriculum. Who cares? There is a bandh today, so everything will come to standstill. The working class people could take this opportunity to have a break and stay at house. No tuition for the kids. Only the poor get affected. But hey, didn’t they promise on TV that the bandh was for the oppressed and depressed? Ha...Even they know that it’s a lie to get hold of their vote banks. So as the streets get deserted, he was supposed to carry out his mission.

March 23, 1931(in color)
He was reading a book. There was no sign of any anxiety or fear on his face. As usual he smiled at the guards who came to pick him up. The warden appeared softer than usual. "You know that you can still avert it." Why don’t these people understand? They also know that he would never do that. Maybe they thought that in the last moment he would become afraid and would chicken out. He laughed as if the warden had told him a joke. He kept his book on the shelf and walked towards them.
"Let’s go Sir". He knew no fear.

In the political language a Bandh becomes successful only when there are riots. Some buses have to be burnt, some people should be injured and must be admitted to the hospital so that they can be shown on television as the "victims" of the bandh. Today his job was to collect some people and do some damage in the nearby areas. He had already picked his gang members and they had also chosen a spot. It would be the market in their nearby locality where a few shops would be broken and ransacked. The public and central government should remember this least for some time.

As he walked past the corridor he could hear his fellow prisoners murmuring. Inspite of the fact that the timing was preponed, it seemed as if everyone expected it. Some of them raised slogans to hail him but he never approved of it. For him the nation was always greater than any individual. The guard accompanying him was surprised by the huge confident strides he made as if he were going collect some reward. Of course it was a reward for him and his patriotism. As he often used to quote "It is easy to kill individuals but you cannot kill the ideas ". He was confident that his ideas would remain immortal.

He had never believed in caste. In fact in his colonies all the caste people lived together in harmony...until any riots took place. They all looked different people. The hands that distributed sweets on their respective festivals were now wielding guns and weapons to kill each another. At the age of 14 it was a hard truth for him to digest and understand. In fact even after these years he could not understand the real reason. It just reminded him that behind the facade of every ordinary man lay a savage who could go to any limits when provoked. Even this useless bandh was targeting the same emotions. Half of the protestors shouting on the streets didn’t even understand the real divide it would cause if the reservations were made for one strata of people. Then another group would ask for a share....then another group....and it would go on to break the country into a million little pieces.

Everyone thought that he would walk away from the scene of crime or run away from the jail, but he didn’t. He survived 63 days of hunger strike in prison, the British officer’s wrath and merciless beating but his fight won equal rights for Indian prisoners. There were protests condemning the British's decision to hang him, but that was not what he wanted. He wanted thousands of young men to up rise when he went down. He chose to die young and be inspiring rather than die old and having lived as just-someone. He saw his two friends join him and they were also smiling at him. How fortunate he was to have found such like minded friends? He used to say that dying in their company was an honor in itself. He looked proudly at the officer who was astonished with his resolve and pride.

There should be reservation based the economic strata instead of caste and religion. But then...who would bell the cat? Well....they opened some of the shops and broke the glasses. Some vehicles standing outside were burnt. Mission accomplished. Sometimes he questioned his conscience about rights and wrongs. He used to watch movies and laugh when the bad guys lost in the end to the good ones. It happened rarely. If that was the case then why were there communal fights? Why almost all the 500 odd MPs were corrupt to the core? Why a peon in the Government office demanded Rs 20 bribe for even the simplest query? Reality Bites. He walked towards his home when he heard the siren far away. As he ran, he saw a poster of a guy with the words Shaheed printed in bold. He didn’t bother to find out what his name was. He was looking forward to collect his remaining 5000 Rs on the next day.

What would a person facing death think about? About his family? Loved ones? Friends? Sweetheart? Happy Memories? He thought about his parents but didn’t shed any tears for them. They would not be bereaved but proud of him. His last thoughts were about his country. He dreamt of a country where one person's joy would be distributed as smiles among all and their sorrows would be divided in small drops of tears. He dreamt of a country which would be the shrine of peace and unity. He dreamt of a country where tradition and innovation would walk hand-in-hand. He dreamt of a country where the youth would resent against any injustice. With these thoughts he closed his eyes and thought about his mother...and motherland. Proudly he kissed the hangman's noose as if it was a garland and shouted for the last time his favorite cry, "Down with British imperialism...Bharath Maata ki Jai."

They thought that they killed him as he was hanged to death. Wrong. Just go and check yourself in the mirror. You can see his legacy in your the freedom that you enjoy. As Shaheed Bhagath Singh said "It is easy to kill individuals but you cannot kill the ideas". Amen.

Monday, March 26, 2007

SMILE please

Once upon a time there was a little girl standing near a sea shore. She was trying to throw back the star fishes back to sea. An old man who passed by asked the little girl "Stupid Girl. How many can you save by doing this?"
The little girl looked at him and replied "I may not save all of them...but I can save this one.. "
and saying this she throws one back to sea and picks another one and says "and this one....."

We all have come across malnourished kids in the traffic signal, in slums, the maiden’s kid and in so many places. And most probably we think "Wish I could do something to help this kid out of this mess". But...we don’t know how to do it.

What Social Service is all about?
Social Service is a very misconstrued word in our lingo. Most of the people imagine that one needs to dedicate one self totally to a cause and abstain from normal life and become a super human. The truth is that all one needs is a deep hearted desire and a little bit of time management.

What is SMILE?
SMILE was formed by 20 members on the shores of Besant nagar beach on April 04, 2004 with a desire to bring SMILE to as many faces as possible. What started as 20 member team grew to 100 members by 2005 and we registered as it as SMILE WELFARE FOUNDATION. By 2006 we managed to get 80G Tax exemption status for contributions made to SMILE. Today SMILE is about 400 member strong organization with members functioning in Chennai, Bangalore and some other parts of the country.

What does SMILE do?
Most of the people who are reading this post must be from the Middle class. We know the value of each and every rupee and are thankful for every morsel of food. But have we thought about people who toil to make ends meet each and every other day and for whom childhood is mostly about watching the smallest joys of crackers, new clothes, sweets and savories and toys in the hands of the neighboring kids from affluent families. The basic aim of SMILE is to restore SMILE to such kids and educate them for a better tomorrow. Since 2004, we at SMILE searched for destitute homes which are without much support and which have been struggling to sustain to exist.

The various projects undertaken in SMILE are as below
Project Sadhana - Educational loan at 0% for students from low income group to pursue their education. We receive requests from SMILE members and news papers as Dinamani and Indian express
Project Atchaya - Supporting destitute homes and support them in their financial, infrastructural and educational needs.
Project Punnagai Pallam - Teams will be formed for each home which will assist them in their education and help them grow as better individuals.
Project Aripta - To help victims in event of any natural calamity.

SMILE has been supporting NGO's as SUYAM , Annai Sathiya Destitute home for kids in Waltex Road in Chennai, Home at Kosapet, GLC in Tambaram. Some of the SMILE members have been also teaching the kids basic Maths, Science and English to those kids. SMILE provided water purifiers and some basic amenities to homes under the Atchaya project. Also under Sadhana Project we have been supporting educational expenses of around 70 people by providing them with loans at 0% interest.

SMILE is run by individuals who are working full time in various organizations with a desire to make a change in the society. Every member of SMILE is encouraged to contribute in any way that he/she wants. You can contribute any amount of your choice every month to SMILE. All contributions made to SMILE are tax exempted under 80G status. You can contribute one time for any special occasions as Birthday or Anniversary. You can visit the destitute homes and spend your precious time with the kids and help them to smile. SMILE has a very transparent structure wherein all contributions made and expenditures incurred are mailed in a spreadsheet to all the members of SMILE.

What can I do?
If I could tell you about the dedication of my friends Guna, Gopi, Rajesh, Dinesh and Latha, I could talk for hours and hours about each of them. There is common misconception that we cannot balance our work life and help others. I often wondered how my dear friend Nandoo was able to manage both successfully. Once when I asked the same, he shot back "What we do here at SMILE is not very great. It is our responsibility. We received all our moral support from parents, relatives, school, and friends. SMILE is a platform to pay back what we have got to the society."

You could be a working professional or a college student who has a desire to do something soul opportunity where all we crave for is not money, but a word for appreciation.....just a smile. There must be some 10th or 12th standard kid near your house who has no one to advice them regarding their career and feels lost. Just hear their aspirations and guide them, or buy them notebook, or a pen as a good luck for their exams and say that you will pray for their success in the exams. You would be first person they would show their mark sheets to after their parents…..and in that moment you will feel an unexplainable joy and elation.

Just spare one weekend and visit some kids at a destitute home and you don’t even need to buy them sweets or chocolates. All they need is your love and affection and an hour or 2 of your precious time. Trust me...once you surrender to their smile and their affection and calls of Anna or will crave for more. Try this for one weekend and you will thank me for your life.

Why especially now mention SMILE?
On April 1, 2007 we at SMILE are celebrating our 3rd anniversary at Kumari Meena Muthayya College in Chennai. Check the poster for more details. If you want to be a part of this revolution please mail me at or go here and click the link JOIN SMILE. To know more about SMILE, click here .

As Mahatma Gandhi told "You must be the change you want to see in the world". Let us be the change and let us help a few more lives to SMILE.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Dead Man Walking

The 8X8 cell room looked crooked enough for 2 people. There was a washbasin, a toilet, a poster of Jesus in the small room. He was crying for the past one hour. Not that I would blame him. Even I would have done the same if I knew that I had just few hours to live my life.

He looked at my name badge which proudly read Srg. Frank Darabont and smirked. I could understand his emotions and didn’t know how I would console him in his last hours. In a few hours from now he would be seated on a chair and crowned with an electrode and be made to fall asleep...forever. As his last wish, we played him a movie yesterday and today I brought tuna chicken from my home for dinner. He ate it for almost half an hour and relished each bite as if he was trying to delay the inevitable. It was a practice to stay all night along and comfort the dying man and talk to him....just talk.

"What were your happy moments Steve?" I asked him.
"The days I spent with my wife, Sir. I still remember the day after our marriage. We went to an island and walked on the beach looking back at our footsteps on sand as they were washed by the incoming waves. She held my hand tight when one huge wave pulled her and as I took her in my arms she gave me a love full look that I will remember forever." As he said this his voice broke.
I could hardly reply. I had known John for these 7 months in jail very well even though I was introduced to him some time before as a colleague of my son.
"Did you like the dinner Steve?"
"Yes Sir. It was very delicious. How much more time do we have Sir?"
"6 more hours."
"Sir. Is my wife coming tomorrow? Please don’t let her in. She loves me a lot. I know how hard she fought for my case to be proved not guilty. I don’t want to see her sobbing. Her memories of smiling face would do." He cried as he said that.
"Why did you do it then?"
"I didn’t Sir. I kept telling that at the court. All evidence was against me. I didn’t kill the manager. Agreed that we all employees were against him and the peace talks didn’t help during the strike. Of course we had tensions in between. But I aint the murdering type."
"Your finger prints were on the gun and in the scene of crime. It’s ok. You can admit it to me."
"Sir. I respect you a lot. Why would I lie when all I have is only a few hours to live?"
We remained silent for sometime. I asked him to sleep for a few hours and he obliged unwillingly.

As the clock ticked 6.30 A.M, the guards arrived at his cell and a doctor did his medical checkup. We escorted him to the room where the electric chair was placed and he was seated there. The murdered guy’s family had come to witness the process. Sometimes I feel that it is too inhuman to watch a person die in front of your eyes, but then they are the bereaved family and this was revenge in their perspective. I had to read the rights to the dying man.

His face was covered with a black cloth. A sponge was dipped in water and placed on his head and then an electrode was placed above it to transfer the current to the body directly.

"Stephen Callaway. Electricity will now be passed through your body till your death in accordance with the state law. May the lord have mercy on your soul."
All the guards and I said "Amen" in unison. As the seconds hand ticked to 12, current was passed and he whimpered and his body shook heavily. Few minutes later he made no movement and the doctor confirmed his death.Tears flowed from my eyes as I saw Steve's dead body. I had mixed emotions as I felt both happy and sad.

I was happy because someone else had now died for a murder that my son had committed in a rage of anger. I was sad because in an attempt to save one of my own, I had now blood in my hands of an innocent man. May the lord have mercy on me.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Veerasamy Returns

What do you do when you are depressed? Listen to music? Watch comedy movies? Read inspirational books? Throw all the Zig Ziglars, Robin Sharma, and Jack Welch out of your bedroom and get ready to brace the new hero in town. It’s none other than our own - Vijaya T Rajendhar. One look at this movie poster is enough and you will know what I am talking about.

TR is a do-gooder MLA (but one who makes such movies). One would never understand why would this movie need comedians like Santhanam, Madam Bob, Bhaskar etc when you have TR himself doing it in every frame of the movie. As in all TRs movie there is a sister whom he needlessly tortures with "Thangacheeeeeeee" which in itself would have driven any sane girl out of the house years before. One look at the sister and TR and you wonder why no one filed a paternity suit with their parents in the movie.

As usual the hardest task of falling in love and looking at him in close up is entrusted to Mumtaz and for that achievement in itself she deserves the Oscar for the Best Actress. Of course she is already being nominated for sleeping over TR's poster and singing a song with loads of milk poured in a huge Jacuzzi AND romancing him.

There is a certain character in the movie you see and before you end your debate in our mind if it is a guy or a gal, then call him "maama", "machchan". "vaada", "poda" to remind you that he is certainly a guy. In effect he looks like someone who just escaped his sex change operation and landed a role in this movie. God knows what poverty on earth forced Meghna Naidu to accept this movie.

When one gets to see her and TR's sister fight over that second "hero", any average looking guy is bound to wonder why he is not being chased by truck load of girls on Ranganathan Street in Chennai. The audience is given one chance of reprieve in the intervals and all the 11 songs which in effect means about 85% of the movie.

TR is the only person in India who manages to match ShahRukh Khan. No no....dont get any ideas. Because he is the only other hero who manages to cry bucketful of tears and cries at the mere drop of a hat. Arvind Mills has decided to relaunch its free size jeans with TR as its Brand ambassador. Also he wears everything from T Shirt, colourfull shirts, Munda baniyan, Sherwani to show how "Youth" full he is.

RMKV has already reported a net loss in the sales of Sherwanis this month after the posters of TR wearing Sherwani were released recently. The scene where TR cries and thumps walking on the stairs without collapsing them have now been chosen by Shankar cements to show their products supreme strength and durability. There is no story in the movie as TR's son used that paper over which the plot was written to clean his shit when they ran out of toilet paper in their house.

As a good samaritan I have nominated fellow blogger friends Praveen and Gopal for the Presidents Bravery medal for watching this movie in Theater, surviving it and saving countless lives with their reviews. Buoyed by the success of Veerasamy (!), TR has announced his next project to yours truly along with the secret poster which will be released like anthrax throughout the world.

He features in a double role with one being a role where TR has decided to unleash his youthful look in this movie. The Photographer who shot TR without his beard and mustache passed away after witnessing the first print. Try to survive this when it gets released in theaters.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

How to Name it

The stage was set. He looked at his backyard and wondered the consequences should he go ahead with what he had planned to do. It could either be his best or turn to be the most disastrous idea ever implemented.

He mentally drafted a list of items he would need to prepare his latest recipe. He looked at his last recipe and wondered what went wrong with it. It was a very good draft and he was happy when he looked at it at that time. But there was something missing in it and that is why he needed to prepare this new recipe. Of course it would take him a lot of effort and time to finish it with perfection, but a consummate artist of perfection that he was, he wanted this one to be his best.

He looked at the various ingredients on his shelf marked as sugar, salt, spicy and so on. What should the final taste be like? He started with salt and some spice. Of course he was not sure that the amount of spice would remain the same every time he would prepare the recipe, but the final output should definitely be sweet. He baked it more tender unlike his previous recipe which mostly would either be half baked or burnt or hard at edges and so on. He wondered if he should make it more appealing to the eye or just tasty enough. But he decided that irrespective of the shape and design, what mattered most was the taste of the recipe.

Ahhh...there it was. Nice, tender, sweet and wonderful. Boy...he was one amazing artist, aint he? He knew that this recipe might create a furor in his world. People would go crazy, fight over it, maybe even a war or two might happen, it could lead to jealousy and mayhem. He wondered if it would spoil the balance. But then he realized something. His recipe had the supreme power of recreating itself. Out of love for his creation, he had bestowed upon it his supreme power of creation and that he wondered should make this his most wonderful product ever made. He looked and wondered what he should call it. It was certainly better than his previous creation although this fact would not be accepted by one and all.

And that is how God created her....and named her WOMAN.

P.S: Belated happy Women’s Day
P.S1: I would never understand why Women’s day and Valentines day need to be celebrated when one can be happy to be a woman or fall in love on any day of the year :-)

Monday, March 05, 2007

Life is Beautiful

The Chicago O’Hare Airport was crowded. But then it always remained crowded. Ashok ran along the airport corridor with his mom who was sprinting hard enough to suggest any possible participation in the next year's Olympics dash. For the past one hour she had been asking him just one question "Where is dad?"

Wish he could answer. His father had gone to meet his uncle in the nearby town. Mom didn’t join him because of family feud which occurred long before between the ladies of the household. Such a small world and still people hold grudges thought Ashok. But then he was not perfect either. He had fought with their neighbor’s kid Anthony when he was 8 years old and they both had not talked since for almost 15 years. Small world eh?

With the announcement of a hailstorm and rough weather mom was worried and Ashok was not sure how he could answer her worries. He had tried calling them to their house and their cell phone, but both seemed disrupted. After a month of vacation and roaming around, it was time to bid adieu to U.S and Ashok didn’t want it to end on a soar note. Ashok tried to relax himself by looking around the airport. It had never failed to mesmerize him. It was a very huge airport and was one of the busiest airport in the world. One could see people of all races, colors and sizes in the airport.

He remembered the Globe skeleton and flags of various countries in terminal 3. What surprised him was the presence of a dinosaur replica in that that terminal. Why would one have a dinosaur in an airport, he wondered? He was thrilled to walk on the running walk and almost tripped at the end of it. He wanted to walk/run on it again, but curbed his enthusiasm. In the checking section he was strip checked and cleared. He felt funny when he saw a 5 year old kid raising his arms like a vitruvian man and being checked for bombs. Welcome to the land of national security son.

The first time when Ashok landed in Chicago he was hungry and wanted to eat something. He exchanged the 500 Rs he had and they repaid him with a measly amount of 11 dollars odd. For another 500 Rs he could have a Sarkaari Babu make him prepare a ration card stating Amitabh as his dad, Hemamalini as his mom and Vidhya Balan as his wife. Perhaps that was the only time when he hated the exchange rate. He was hungry and looking for something to eat. That damn pizza slice alone cost about 6 dollars which was almost 180 Rs. Bloody middle class conscience won’t let him have it initially. But the war between stomach and logic has always been won hands down by stomach. Now he drinks coffee daily twice in Dunkin Donuts, buys Stafford shirt worth 40$, watches movies in IMAX for 13$ and has a watch of 120$(original price concealed from his mom).

"Ashok, Do something" yelled his mom.
Ashok tried calling his uncle's mobile and it was still busy. The blizzard had added to her anxiety and fear. His mother was close to tears and it was for the first time Ashok had seen his mom in such a predicament. 10 minutes later he found his father with a bandage on his head and limping with his uncle near him. As soon as his mom saw him, she ran and hugged him and cried in front of thousands of people. His uncle told him that his father had slipped on stairs and was hurt mildly. Ashok heaved a sigh of relief and walked towards his parents with their boarding tickets.

It was then that he remembered something and stopped midway through. For the first time in 28 years of his life, he was seeing his parents embrace each other in front of his very eyes. He smiled and as an ad buff he tried to picture something like this
Chocolates and Sweets - 149$
Cab fare - 48$
Tickets to India - 1800$
Witnessing a kodak moment......priceless

Friday, March 02, 2007

Tag on Fire

Tagged by Gayatri. If I postpone this tag any further, the taggers association threatened to sue me for millions of dollars. it comes.

Favorite Color: Blue and Black

Favorite Food: Anything prepared by my mom. I don’t throw tantrums for food :-).

Favorite Month: May

Favorite Songs:

Hindi: Pal Pal Dil ke pass from Black Mail

Tamil: Too many to name. Hmmmm...currently En iniya pon nilaave and How to Name it.

English: Summer of 69

Favorite Movie: Too many. To name a few Life is Beautiful in tragedy, Shawshank Redemption for hope, Face/Off for action, Panchatantiram and Golmaal for comedy, Sleepless for suspense.

Favorite Sport: As most of my fellow indians. Cricket :-)

Favorite Season: Summer.

Favorite Day Of the week: Friday

Favorite Ice Cream Flavor: Strawberry

Favorite Time of Day: Anytime after 11 PM. I am a nocturnal animal :-)


Current Mood: Highly bored and supremely depressed :-(

Current Taste: Sour

Current Clothes: Jockey Baniyan and Athletic works shorts

Current Desktop: The charming Tamanna Bhatia. (sigh)

Current Toenail Color: ?

Current Time: 15.04 EST

Current Surroundings: A pillow, a comforter in a yucky bachelor room. I am tired of cleaning this mess up :-(

Current Thoughts: What should be the next story to follow this post?


First Best Friend: Neeraj Goel in First standard.

First Screen Name: hurry2harish. I still have it :-)

First Pet: Can I name my brother :-)

First Piercing: Ears. My parents dragged me to the Tirunelveli temple as an infant and pierced. Ketta "Vera yaarum unakku kaadu kootida koodadu nu daan naangale unakku kaadu kuttitom". Devuda :-)

First Album: My parents marraige album (freeya vidunga). After seeing my cousins pic whch slightly resembled me I asked my mom "How come I was at your wedding and I dont remember it?"

First Movie: My mom says it was a movie called "Thoongaade Thambi Thoongade". I cried for sometime and became silent for the song "Naanaga Naan illai Thaaye". :-)


Last Cigarette: First and last puff on Jan 1, 2005. Tried it just for fun :-)

Last Drink: Alcoholic: One sip of beer on the same day. Uweeekkkk. How do you ppl drink it? :-)
Non-alcoholic: A hot chocolate coffee.

Last Car Ride: Today.

Last Movie Seen: Charlie Chaplin's The Great Dictator. I loved the movie.

Last Phone Call: With my roommate. Six minutes ago.

Last Book Read: Don’t remember. Been long since I finished a book in one go.

Have You Ever Broken the Law: Tried to do one recently. But couldn’t do it out of guilt :-(

Have You Ever Been Arrested: Not yet.

Have You Ever Been on TV: Some thing better. I was in a short film we made for SMILE and it was played on an auditorium screen in front of some 400 people. was embarrassing to watch myself :-)

Have You Ever Lied: Nope. (And increased my count by one)

Have You Ever Kissed Someone You Didn't Know: Lemme think. Hmmmm....No. I always ask the name of the kids before kissing them :-)


Thing You're Wearing: How many time I have to answer this :-(

Thing You've Done Today: Got drenched in rain on the way to home.

Thing You Can Hear Right Now: Nenjam Ellam kaadal from Aayudaezhutu.

Thing You Can't Live Without: Friends, Movies, Books, Music.

Thing You Do When You're Bored: If my laptop is available, I open browser and check any news.

4 PLACES YOU'VE BEEN TODAY : DMV office, downtown, bus Stop, Dunkin Donuts.

3 PEOPLE YOU CAN TELL ANYTHING TO : Wont name them. Then it doesn’t remain a secret :-)


1. Black or White: Black

2. Hot or Cold: In India Cold. Here Hot.

I believe actions speak stronger than words. So...its something that I will do and then say. :-)

Since tags can be monotonous, to spice things up check this video from the movie Music and Lyrics. (Thanks Sat)

Tagged by KK. Enna maamu...sema easy aana tag a kodututa :-)

Here is what I am supposed to do...
1. Grab the closest book.
2. Open to page 123, go down to the fifth sentence.
3. Post the text of next 3 sentences on the blog. (enakkum onnum puriyala :-()
4. Put in also the name of the book and its author.
5. Tag three people

"I dont know" Jeremy confessed.
After a brief pause, Alvin said "Again, I dont know what to tell you".
"What do you think it means? why is someone sending me e-mails like this?"

Author: Nicholas Sparks
Book: At first Sight
As my usual rule...I don't tag anyone :-)