Mission Mars:

Few hours back Sakthi asked me what is a blog? Well, I've been reading other's blogs and blogging here for the past two months and this question made me think. I tried to get the meaning from the online dictionary and this is what I got and I tried the Thesaurus and got this. :-( I told him that "its something like a online diary, only difference between a diary and blog is that a diary is generally not read by others and this blogs are written for others to read". I guess I've given a satisfactory explanation :-)

Actually he asked me this question because in one of my spam mails I sent a link on the blogs of Opportunity and Spirit. Somehow I got interest in this space mission and was surfing the website for this. There are a few interesting facts to note.
* The launch was postponed few times due to weather (Florida is the lightning capital of the US), techincal problems (well, after all software is an integral part of it) and a fisherman (check the videos 4 more details) !
* The navigators must hit the target of 5 kms wide from millions of mile away !
* The EDL part is the most crucial part. It has to slow down the craft from 12,000 miles/hour to zero - in just 6 minutes ! Infact this is known as the 'six minutes of terror'. Don't miss this video.

Later I came across another site where there rovers were blogging! That is really a creative idea. It was as if Spirit and Opportunity were blogging about their journey. I liked the site. Should follow it regularly. There are few other blogs I read, almost all are techie blogs, so not going to mention here. But three interesting things I came across while sufring. First is an article in the daily 'The Hindu'. Here is it. The next is an small game written in JavaScript. Try this when you are bored and the last is an image. Here is it:

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Book: Tolkappiyap poonga

I bought this book almost 3 months back and have not read it till now. Somehow the size of the book made me to keep it away and reduced its priority. Here and there read few malargal (that is how the items are named as) but didn't have a attai-to-attai read. Finally while going for Arasu's marriage in Coimbatore, I took it. (This time the luggage is less). Read most of it when I was @ home and thought I would complete the rest in the train journey and our man, Varda, took the book and couldn't read it. Then yesterday I was off to office and so made this opportunity to completed it.

The book may not be worth of 500 bucks, but is quite good. He has taken a 100 sutras out of 1610 and explained them. Mostly every malar contains a small story with which the sutra is explained. The illustrations by Maniam Selvam perfects every malar. Each malar is given with a suitable introduction and a clean interpretation. May be if every Tamil teacher in schools were like Karunanithi no one could say 'mella tamil ini saagum'.

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Movie: Virumandi

Many a time, negative criticism will give a big boost to a movie's publicity. This movie also enjoys such a publicity for the controversial (initial) name itself. This movie was supposed to created communal violence - as Krishnasamy said and opposed the name 'Sandiar'. After strong opposition from him and good 'aasi' from our 'amma' this movie is named as Virumandi.

The initial Jallikattu scenes are picturized in a wonderful way. Kamal should be certainly praised for it. The story line is pretty neat, but the screenplay should have been shaped in a better way. At times, the story is not moving and I felt boring. In Anbe Sivam the message delivered was very clear. But this movie tries to defend against law for sentences against death. In the climax Kamal speaks a dialog 'jail is meant to be a place where criminals can realize their mistake and change themselves. But in practical it is not so' - and tries to back-up the message. mmmhum. Its not so strong. Virumandi is shown as an innocent man, who is sentenced to death, for the crimes he has not committed. But I wonder whether law permits sentence of death to a person, who is accused of creating communal violence and, kidnapping and raping a woman. May be some more background work should have been done.

Everybody fits into their characters well. Especially, the villian. Pasupathy has lived as that character. Another one to be mentioned is Nepolian. The heroine is , hey its Abirami ! Without any makeup and talking in the typical Tirunelveli tamil, she has don a good job as Annalaxmi. Rohini has a re-entry in this film. Rajesh appears in a scene. It seems that after the story line is discussed and the screenplay is created, Kamal realized that Naasar is not in the movie. 'What is a movie without him?' Kamal should have thought and added a character for him. Music is our Mottai. 'Kombula poova soothi' is a typical Raja song. I read that most of the shooting took place in sets in Chennai, due to Krishnasamy's troubles. But I could not any difference between the sets and the real village. Good art direction.

Kamal should learn how to show violence in movies from Sankar. In the movie Indian, the Indian thatha kills many people; there is a mass suicide, but still the entire movie can be viewed with children. Even in Hollywood, they try to make a movie as an entertainer for all ages - take 'The Mummy' for instance. But this movie has an over-dose of unnecessary violence. Esp, in the climax, the villian-vatham is reaaaaly cruel. Next to Anbe Sivam, this movie would have become another classic one, but for the over-dose violence and for not-so-strong-message, this stands to be a very normal movie.

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Me, myself and no-one else

Two weeks back, when I was talking to Sudhir, he was mentioning about a photograph, he has seen n a magazine. It was taken somewhere in North India. It was a photo of an STD booth and its poor owner in rugged clothes. In the background stands a big fort. I was wondering whats there, after all it should be just an another photo. But then he revealed that the owner was actually a descendant of the kings , who ruled that place and owned the fort two centuries back ! To keep his daily bread on his table, this fellow is running an STD booth and the major customers are the tourists, who come to see the fort. Time changes everything.

Today when I was reading Kumutham, I came across Vairamuthu's 'Konjam theaneer, niraya vaanam' column, he started the kavithai stating 'the woman selling buttermilk near the Kallannai dam, could have been the grand, grand daughter of the Karikalan, the king who built the dam'. I was immediately reminded of that photograph. The next few lines were few other examples like the above. I was thinking how he is going to end it. Quoting those examples, he says that no one can predict the future or can trace about all our fore-fathers. So dear parents don't force your child to be like yourself. Let them to be themselves. Teach them how to handle the troubles, let them go in their own ways to find their happiness. That was a nice point. Many a times, I could see that people forcing their children to get involved in things that they would like. Last week, I saw the nice animation movie 'Finding Nemo'. It was also putting forth a similar message. Let your child to be free and leave him to learn things on their own. I was wondering what would have happened, if I was allowed to go on my own decision? With most probability, I would have gone into my ever-time favourite profession - photography. By this time, I might have ended up being a photographer, or would have been a cameraman for some movie, or would have been working with National geographic and exploring places, or may be I would have been working with a newspaper and shooting pictures of those latthi charges against the mobs, etc, etc. I should have missed my 3 wonder years in UG and another 3 enjoyable years in PG; I would have missed working in a hi-tech environment; I might not have been earning as I do now, but still, I would have been myself. Myself, and no one else.

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To bet or not to bet

Betting is a bad habit. Really bad. Ok. I do agree it. As long as it is a 'habit' and done so intensively, it could be bad. If you could make a duck-out where you can score a double-century, its a really bad. But is it OK to have occasionaly betting? To me its perfectly alright, just because I do it ;-)

Varda is a very, very serious guy, when it comes to betting. He would do simply anything to win a bet. Do you bet with me that he won't? Ok here is an instance. Once when we were in college, some of our guys decied to tease his betting habit and decided to play a game. Around 10 of us were ready to contribute the bet amout, if he wons. The amount came above 50 lakhs. We "rounded" it to one crore and asked whether he was ready for the bet. Bet? We pointed a gal and said that somehow he should marry her. We were simply kidding. But after a long and deep thought he said, "I can't marry her, but can go till engagement". Do you accept my statement that he would simply do anything to win a bet? OK then I won the bet with you :-)

I too accepts bets often, but not to this level, and more importantly I don't have the killer instinct to win the bet nor the ability to get the bet amount if I won a bet. Once, on a valentine's day, I had a bet with Sreeram: I should propose to a gal he shows, and I did it and won the bet, (luckily, even after I did that, her footwear was still in its place) but till the treat in Residency is pending :-(

When going to Coorg, Varda was saying that if Karthi makes the dinner a treat for his bro's marriage, he'll make the next-day lunch a treat, for serving as a module-leader to his project. Karthi was refusing it. After some time, I went and said Varda that if he makes Karthi to give a treat, I would give him Rs. 100. Without a second thought, he accepted the bet. That night he contributed a considerable share to the dinner and 'told' that it was a treat by Karthi and announced that he won the bet. OK. I agreed it and paid the money (of couse, after a delay of one day). As he promised he also gave money for the next day's lunch. (Added up with the ambience and, the taste and quality of the food, that was the best food in our Coorg trip). Finally to won a 100 bucks bet, he has spent some where near 1000 bucks !

Betting is a bad habit. Really bad habit. Ok. I do agree it. As long as it is a 'habit'.

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Year end vacation in Coorg

After a long time our classmates decided to have a gettogether along with the new-year celebrations. We planned to go somewhere on the new year's eve. But somehow the dates got preponed to x-mas weekend. After a small discussion, Karthi proposed Coorg. Looking at some tourism websites, which described it as the heaven-on-the-earth, we all decided it as the destination. 10 of us started here in chennai on x-mas eve and reached Bangalore in the morning. We scheduled to depart Bangalore @ 8 AM. But it was almost 11.30 when we crossed Honeywell. We stopped @ Srirangapatnam for lunch. Everybody was going into the small hotel there. Ganni, pointed a non-vegetarian hotel near-by for chicken briyani lovers. So six of us went there and sat. It looked like an abandoned placed and seems that we were the only customers! When we first asked for chicken briyani, the server cum cleaner cum owner cum cook said that its not available and after a momentary thought said its available. We ordered it. It was actually chicken pulav served in the name of the chicken briyani. Despite the bad taste, Karthi praised that the chicken was fresh, but I didn't touch it as I reminded of vivek's kaka briyani joke in the movie 'Run'. After looooong journey, we reached there in the evening. We just had enough time to take bath and dressup for dinner - no site-seeing. The next day we went to some places and started our downwards journey in the evening. Two best places was worth mentioning. The first was Abbey falls. We have to take a 10 minutes walk from the parking lot thru the woods. Slowly you would be hearing the sound of the falls and suddendly in one turning, the falls come to eye sight. We were said that this year due to good rainfall, the water level was high. The second place was a river bed, where you have to cross the river in the boat to see an elephant camp. The place was looking very good and breeze was creating a nice atmosphere. As it was not so deep and there were lot of rocks in the surface of the river, we decided to cross the river by walk. We were walking carefully and slowly, and two little gals from that place said, "Uncle, give us way", and were running on the rocks. Several of us fell down in the water and got completely wet. But those two were simply running and jumping on the rocks and crossing the river - experience does matters :-(

Few noteworthy things in Coorg:
* We thought Coorg is name of the city, but hey, its a name given to the hilly area, and its the name of the district. We stayed in Madikeri, the capital of Coorg
* Most of the coffee estates are owned by Tamil Chettiars from the southern-districts of Tamil Nadu. Around 100 years back they considered investing in the real estates here would yield profit and they are right!
* As its a hill station, I thought it would be very chilling there. But Coorg's just 1500 feet above MSL and it was the first hill-station, where I had to switch on the fan to sleep :-)
* Food was pretty decent there in Coorg. It didn't cost much. 15 of us, had a good dinner and the bill was less than 1k.
* We thought that, as its a well-known tourist place and so we'll have lot of ATMs and didn't take much cash. To our surprise there was only two ATMs one is SBI, which will not accept other bank cards and luckily the other one, Corporation Bank ATM, accepts any VISA cards.
* When having breakfast in a near-by hotel, they were charging a penalty of Rs. 5, if you waste any food that you have ordered
* As the web-sites described, its not a great place. May be if we had gone for some trekking kind of activities, it would have been true, but in general, its just an another hill station.

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