Dear Zindagi -Who’s your Jug? On Friendship – Panchatanthiram

When BlogAdda announced this contest, I was perplexed. In reality, I do not have too many friends. Friends who were close enough once upon a time, have moved on focusing on their lives and new friends. Facebook, Twitter and Blog friends and friends in reality are two different variables.

Then what is a constant???

‘Friendship’ in itself is a tough word to define. As individuals, we grow, physically, mentally, we evolve over a period of time. Our preferences change, with age, hormones play their trick. The five year-old girl in a frock with whom you used to play hide-and-seek when you were five years old as well, changes into a young woman over the next 15 years. The same holds good for boys as well. Chaddi-yaar – underwear-friends at the age of five and at the age of twenty have two completely different connotations in the modern world.

Everyone seems to be leading a dual life! One in reality and one on Facebook!

I seem to digress, or am I on track? How do you define who a friend is?? Is it someone with whom you can share your darkest secrets and all he/she does is listen to you patiently and then says – “Chood yaar! Chal ek sutta maartey hain phir ek beer – sab theek ho jaayega!” — Or is it the chap who says — “Matchaan, for Pete’s sake – get over her – she is not the only girl in the whole wide universe!”

Is it the friend who keeps messaging you to check if you are home after a late-night? Is it the friend who ensures you get the larger slice of cake when you go for a party? Is he/she a friend who keeps reminding you to wear a helmet when you ride the bike? He/she shares the best novels/music/film DVDs. All these are passing clouds in this moment called life.

What defines a friendship?? Lending money in tough times? Donating blood when needed?? Ensuring that he/she does not end up in bad company?? What is friendship?? Who is Jug??? And how does one assume that it is just one person?? Why can’t it be a group of inseparables??

For the purpose of this post, I would like to tag five friends – ‘Panchathanthiram’.

Bragadeesh. He is an entrepreneur managing sales and business development for a digital marketing firm. In addition, he is a published novelist, a cinema-buff, poet, player of the flute and an avid photographer as well. At various points of his life he has dabbled in managing a restaurant, selling fire-crackers online, working as a tour-planner and also coordinated wedding shoots.

Someone who does not necessarily display his warmth outwardly, he is a thinker who plans out surprises for his friends. Be it a birthday treat or a surprise movie get-together, it is tough to beat his planning skills and resource-utilization efforts.

The friend with whom I share a deep bond of admiration and respect is Dr. Ganesh. He is a qualified facial reconstruction specialist. I hope I got the term right! A humour writer with many popular blog posts to his credit, an avid photographer, active quizzer and a repository of information on Chennai and its history.

Jothivel – A traveller, web-designer, arts-enthusiast, historian focusing on ancient Tamil culture, political commentator, movie-buff, ham-radio operator and avid photographer. He offers words of wisdom when there is doubt and is a pillar of support in the Chennai blogging community. He has travelled more than 70% of India by car.

Vinod – A professional photographer, traveller and techie. He quit his IT job to explore his passion of photography and is a prominent wedding photographer based out of Chennai. Very calm in approach, silent, speaks very little but offers guidance to everyone. A regular Sabarimalai devotee as well.

Prason – An engineer, a corporate communications specialist, stand-up comedian, singer and guitarist, fashion-blogger, spiritual blogger, humourist since 1982. There are lots of adjectives to describe him. Someone who embodies wit and sarcasm in equal measure a rising figure in the Chennai stand-up comedy circle.

This is my group of five friends – the ‘Juggers’ or shall I call them ‘Jugheads’.

Har ek dost zaroori hota hai!

Thanks for being a part of my life!

“I am writing about Jug in my life for the #DearZindagi activity at BlogAdda

 

#ShareTheLoad – Or a Series of Unfortunate Incidents

This is a fascinating initiative by Ariel and BlogAdda to promote men also taking on the chore of washing. In my case I have been washing my own clothes since I was in Class Eight in School and it is nothing novel or unique for me. I wash my clothes every weekend and then spend time ironing the clothes.

This post narrates the ironical twists when I attempted to take pics of myself, the washing machine and the Ariel packet that I received. After adding the powder, water and clothes within the machine, I attempted to position myself to click a proper picture on my phone. I use a phone which has no front-facing camera and I have to use my wits to take a selfie with the rear camera.

It was precisely at this instant that I slipped and fell and in an attempt to balance myself dropped my phone and that in essence explains why there are no actual pics clicked by me for this post 😦

pics ariel

For the sake of the rules and instructions I have taken pics from the Internet, no copy-righted images no cyber-bullying please. The washing machine is the same model as the one that I have at home.

Share the load my dear brothers, uncles, and members of the male clan. Help your family-members was the clothes, with Ariel’s super fragrance, powerful chemical stain removers, washing clothes will be a breeze and not something to worry about.

I am a regular user of Tide detergent for as long as I can remember, Ariel gave me a chance to try something different and I am happy with the results of the clothes being washed well.

The phone will be back from the service centre in a few days and my fingers are crossed!

But let us focus on the main topic here. Washing is not a gender-specific job, wash your clothes – #ShareTheLoad. I still feel it is idiotic to expect the woman of the house to wash the clothes of the entire family. With most modern families having both the husband and wife working and leading a busy life in the tough cities across the country; washing becomes a weekend job. The washing machine and dryer come to the rescue of families. So help your partner wash the clothes. Share the task, spread love and see the smiles and warmth that overflows.

This post is a part of the #WashBucketChallenge activity at BlogAdda.com is association with Ariel India.

The Day After Tomorrow

I just don’t like it,
You crazy kids of mine,
I thought you would,
Be my greatest triumph,
You have disappointed me badly,
Killing each other in my name,

Destroying the bounties,
Of Mother Nature,
Cleaning away forests,
To make way for resorts,
Seas that have become dump-yards.

Religion and caste,
Reservations and gender bias,
Am I supposed to love you???
Day after day,
I look at you from the skies,
And just keep wondering,
Where did I go wrong???

It is time to reboot,
This planet called earth.
I am triggering the Apocalypse!
Let me think of a better world,
Where people will respect each other,
Where narrow thoughts,
Don’t cloud sensibility.

Where truth and justice
Will prevail!!!

I have often wondered how it would be to play God?

Think starting from scratch create a new world.

Well how about a world where no religions remain, no countries, no passports, no complex legal systems. One unified earth where everyone can make an honest living.

A world where no God exists. Where men and women can choose to live a life that they envision. Where the law ensures swift justice. Where rapists and terrorists and paedophiles are hanged to death. There are so many things that can be done!

The only thing that is valued is money. Love, relationships, friends and siblings, parents and relatives, everyone is expendable. We see more old-age homes and orphanages with every passing day. The people on the streets seem to be more tired and worried. Everyone awaits the weekend to drown one’s worries in some intoxicant or the other.

Science and technology has made so many advancements, but there is still no substitute for a caring warm hug, a hot meal shared with a stranger, learn to love unconditionally… For any chance at redemption at all.

I guess, humans will never learn, they will evolve and start creating religions and assign names and laws and traditions and rituals and more lives will be lost in the name of God than any disease or natural disaster.
No you humans will never learn…..

Perhaps the new world will have no humans. Just animals….. That is the best way forward.. Triggering the Apocalypse now….!

“I am participating in the #TheWorldRemade activity at BlogAdda in association with India Today #Conclave15

We have all the Time in the World

The silence is deafening,

The guests, friends and relatives,

Have come, paid their respects,

Consoled me with words,

Some close friends with a hug,

Leaving me to ponder,

On the impermanence,

Of everything in life!

She lies before me,

In an ice-box of sorts,

Her face has that angelic smile,

That sent hearts abuzz,

In high school as well as college.

How quickly does time fly?

 

It just seems like yesterday,

When two teenagers,

Squabbled over the merits,

Of James Joyce and Joseph Conrad,

Each calling the other a pretender,

Saying – ‘You have not read – Ulysses’.

‘You have not read Lord Jim’.

Debate after debate,

Culturals at various colleges,

We would be pitted against each other,

We would go hammer and tongs,

At each other, gung-ho on our arguments,

Raising points on topics,

As varied as child-abuse and state-sponsored alcoholism.

Somewhere down the line.

A spark ignited within and there was a lamp,

A lamp of love that lit,

Within our hearts.

I still remember that day.

Culturals at IIT-M – the rains arrived,

Without any warning.

She stood along with her classmates,

Sheltered from the rain.

I walked up to her and offered my umbrella.

She smiled, – ‘What Mr. Hero?’

And I said – ‘Yes, my lady!’

We walked in the rains, an umbrella,

That sheltered the two of us.

From Gajendra Circle to the Main Gate.

Two souls bonded together as one.

College flew by in a flash,

Both of us went on to become lecturers,

By a quirk of fate,

We started teaching at the same college.

God was kind to us!

The wedding went on without a hitch.

We grew old together seeing life go by.

Two splendid kids who have made their parents proud.

A life really well-lived!

And now you have left me,

All alone to battle my remaining years,

Just holding your memories,

In a way it is good,

For I would never be able

To fathom your sorrow,

If I were to die before you.

Now that you have left me,

What purpose do I have here,

I shall meet you soon,

In another world and time,

Where we shall have,

Plenty of time for each other!

All the time in the world!

“I am participating in the #SoundOfLove activity atBlogAdda in association with Bluestone”.

The Price of Stardom

The cinema industry is a heavily schizophrenic one. On one side we bend over backwards to celebrate our heroes though in real life they are rash drivers, drug addicts and serial womanisers. On the other the heroine is always looked as an object of desire, a spark that ignites a thousand fantasies.

The price that actresses pay, the casting couch, the sacrifice of privacy, the roving eyes and a crazy media that scrutinises every action. Eager asses that focus on cleavage rather than actual news. The tough ask of maintaining an hourglass figure, restrictions on diet, a 100 other things, what is the price of stardom.

Many actresses succumbed to pressure.

Silk Smitha who committed suicide,

Meena Kumari who died of a broken heart,

Madhubala who was chased by so many stars but died a bitter death.

The problems faced by National Award winner Shweta Basu

The list is long.

This post is a dedication to all those ladies who struggle and still create a meaningful life.

Amala Akinneni who supports the Blue Cross and helps in animal safety awareness.

Revathi and Rohini who work for health awareness in women.

I would like to salute these and many other stars who do a lot of good and noble acts but do not seek media exposure.

This post is a part of #UseYourAnd activity at BlogAdda in association with Gillette Venus

A Clean Shave

The trick was to be calm and level-headed and never to panic. The Master had always taught him to be a good listener and a silent observer. The student had learnt his lessons well and he was now a name to reckon with in a very closed niche circuit of professionals.

I looked at how things were going back to the old era. No more emails, no more phone calls, just the trusted non-descript cafes and tiffin-centres, the name and date on the bill or the napkin. I smiled – ‘Edward Snowden, well and truly made us all paranoid!’A hero of a different kind! Hunted by his own!

The idea was to meet at Mani’s Cafe. Sixty years saw no change in the quality of the delightfully tangy sambar, the soft fluffy idlies and the crispy vadas. The price alone had gone up in tune with the economy. But no compromise on taste and the filter coffee, to weave a pun – ‘It was worth dying for’!

V came in sharp at 7:30 AM he sat opposite me, no signs of recognition no smile, nothing at all. He ate his masala dosa and drank his filter coffee. As I sat amused, relishing my onion rava roast and coconut chutney; he finally pushed a small sheet of paper. He nodded his head and then left after paying the bill. I smiled as he left, good old V.

The target was Bappan Reddy a political heavy weight and an extremely prosperous farmer. He had been supplying arms to the Naxals by sourcing them from the Chinese and this mess had to stop. The instruction was clear, marked ‘Code-A’ make it look like an accident. No signs of any foul play.

As I wondered, on how to plan the ‘kill’ I saw an advert for the new Gillette Mach 3 Turbo razor and an idea struck me. Bappan was travelling from Chennai to Delhi by the Shatabdi the next week. It was to be a political discussion enroute with MLAs from the ruling party and the opposition and there was confirmed intel that enroute ‘women’ would be sneaked in for entertainment. Additionally catering staff would be taking care of the big-wigs and two separate coaches had been reserved for this entourage.

The Trip:

The Catering Contractor was a big name in the food industry who catered only to the elite. Joining the group as a ‘waiter’ was easy. I had taken over a chap who was currently enjoying time in Goa with the 50000 that I had offered him. ‘No questions asked’!

On the day of the journey the staff reached Chennai Central a full two hours before departure. We travelled to the railway shed at Basin Bridge Junction wherein two special coaches were allotted to us and we went about assembling our cooking apparatus in an area ear-marked for us. We were also in charge of housekeeping for the sahibs and given instructions to keep welcome kits in each of the big sahib’s rooms.

I opened one of the welcome kits. As I suspected it had a shaving kit. I replaced the disposable razor with my special weapon a poison tipped razor. The razor was coated with a poison extracted from the krait one of the deadliest venomous snakes in the world. It would do its trick.

The train departed on time and it was suddenly stopped at Gumidipoondi station. There was an emergency on-board senior leader Bappan Reddy was dead!!

I smiled and walked out. I went to the public lavatory. Neat by local standards, and took out my Gillette mach-3 and shaved my beard and moustache in three minutes flat and walked out!

Mission Accomplished!!!!

This post is a part of #WillYouShave activity at BlogAdda in association with Gillette.

Private India – Blogadda Book Reviews Program

Title: Private India
Author(s): James Patterson, Ashwin Sanghi
Language: English
Genre: Fiction/Thriller/Crime
Publisher: Arrow/Random House India, Year Published: 2014 July
Pages: 480
ISBN-13: 9780099586395 , ISBN-10: 0099586398

I first heard that Ashwin Sanghi was working with James Patterson on a novel set in India, at the beginning of this year, at ‘The Hindu Lit for Life Literature Festival’ in Chennai. The announcement had me excited because JP is a master-writer spinning plot upon plot and is I believe among the rare few people who does not suffer from Writer’s Block. The prolific output of work is testimony to the statement above 🙂

JP surprisingly was a recent entrant in my reading list; read one of his books about three years back and then a friend gave me a full bunch of his ebooks with about 15 or 17 of his works and it was an absolute blast reading his books.

Ashwin Sanghi has won the title of India’s Dan Brown and his books have found success with the steady mix of history, mythology, science and politics. I enjoyed ‘Chanakya’s Chant’ and look forward to reading more of his solo-efforts.

Now let me tell you a bit about my reading tastes – I am a bit crazy about serial killers and murder mysteries. There was a time when I hoped I would go on to do an MPhil and a PhD and my thesis would be ‘Serial Killers in Fiction and Reality’. Well fate had other plans and all I do is read books and write reviews when time permits. Jo Nesbo has been the single biggest novelist who has managed to charm his way into the hearts of readers with his Harry Hole series and his translator deserves equal merit.

Now moving back to ‘Private India’:

In Mumbai, women are being strangled and killed with a yellow scarf. Strange motifs and symbols are being placed next to their corpses. Private India, a team of super exclusive private investigators is brought into action and headed by Santosh Wagh, ex RAW, the team of Nisha Gandhe (ex Mumbai CID), Hari Padhi (tech wizard) and Mubeen (forensic expert) take it upon themselves to try and find the killer before he strikes again.

Step-by-step the case unravels, the book is paced fast and lots of secrets tumble out. I do not want to add too many details as this would make reading the book boring. The book is a great read for those unfamiliar with the works of JP. To seasoned readers of books by JP and other crime-thriller masters; this book is a bit of a letdown.

It is evident that the descriptions of Mumbai references to the various forms of the Goddess and the Navrathri are by Ashwin Sanghi – but somewhere deep down I felt this book was going like a bit of a tour guide for international readers. Somewhere there seems to be a disconnect, I am just not able to put it clearly, perhaps I am wrong and it is my personal viewpoint. May be if I had not read any of JP’s books before I would have waxed eloquent and offered five stars. Read some of JP’s earlier books and you will feel the difference.

Mahesh’s Rating: Three stars out of five for this thriller.

This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!