The last few days have been hectic, busy and interesting. Lot of time spent at work, swimming classes at 6 in the morning, and a huge back ache on a monday evening chennai traffic jam, is forcing me to leave work an hour earlier. Some application forms remain to be filled, by tommorow and then I am all set for the much awaited GOA trip of mine from Dec 27 -Jan-1


Sanjay Subramanian's Concert

Margazhi mood,Margazhi Music,margazhi menu - it is definetely a feel good atmosphere at Vani Mahal, during the Chennai Music season.Sunday the 7th of December was one such day.The mood was evident in the quality of connoiseurs who had turned up, the lovely ghee dosais served in the Vani Mahal canteen and in the colour surrounding Vani Mahal. There was something in this old-world sabha that conjures up a lot of images,memories of the classical Chennai music season, as compared to the state of the art auditoriums that dont quite have that "home grown turf" classical touch.

The audience were huge in numbers except for a few seats in the backrows, but the Chennai music festival is growing in prominence and proprtion as time goes by.The December festival is a cultural melting point where and artists and rasikas converge to get drawn to the sensuality that carnatic music exudes.
I have attached a few videos of the Concert in Chennai last sunday of Sanjay Subramanian. The artiste was carnatic vocalist Sanjay Subramaniam ably supported by Guruvayur Dorai in mridangam, Nagai Muralidharan in violin and Neyveli Venkatesh in kanjira. As a fellow rasika sitting near me observed Sanjay never eased up with any simple compositions, but kept on with quite challenging raagas.
Though I dont understand much of music,The best part about carnatic music is its non invasiveness and peace that it brings to oneself during the concert.


What makes Rajni tick?

Born as Shivaji Rao Gaikwad 57 years ago, Rajnikanth made his first steps into tinsel town with his first movie "Aboorva Ragangal" in 1975. Since then in the last 31 years.He has won 14 awards for his movies. A harder look statistics reveal that all of Rajnikanth's movies ran for more than 100 days, including his latest movie "Chandramukhi" in 2005.

The above statistic easily makes him the most watched Indian superstar amongst his peers. So what intrigues me is what elavated him to that cult status?

Was it his villainous moves and the angry young man looked he potrayed in some of his earlier movies? Was it the panache he displayed in terms of his unique style of flipping his sunglasses or throwing a cigarette right between his lips. Or was it due to the fact that a majority of people could connect with his "bhola bhala " roles in some of his movies post 80's which had the look of a loser simpleton who won in the end?

Rajnikanth remains an enigma to me, in the few movies of him I have watched. There was nothing spectacular about his acting or dialogue delivery, but I feel some of his earlier movies had this arrogant stylish cocky image that caught the fancy of people and that just stuck on, and by the times the late 80's and 90's came, he blossomed into a " people's hero" with tailor made roles that had a sense of ruralness connected with the way he acted.

I remember the famous line "I can talk English, walk english, laugh english" which instantly made him positioned for the masses, with people easily relating some part of their lives with Rajnikanth. Not that I am against him, but I feel that Rajnikanth's USP was his "pandering to mass" brand positioning that helped him come to the limelihght.

Since his brand has grown over the years like a tsunami gaining force, I see a lot of people accepting Rajnikanth as their "hero" and when Rajnikanth got this vital support from the masses, he started concentrating on throwing in political entendres in his movies, to suggest a hypocratic image of "If I want I can be the CM, but let the people choose me" . Nothing wrong with that too, he is a shrewd guy, who has learnt to capitalise on a certain brand positioning.

But If I were to pick the best Indian actor, I would definetely place Kamala hassan and the late Sivaji Ganesan as one of the most versatile actors of this era. I'd then rate Amitabh Bachan, for his dialogue delivery and that voice that has been the cornerstone of Indian cinema for a long time. If I remember right, Rajesh Khanna and Amitabh bachan owed a major portion of their success stories to the erstwhile singer Kishore Kumar, for some mellifluous songs that feature them, just as Rajnikanth owed some of his major successes to movies that had the "loser has the last laugh" image (most Indian movies have that, dont they ? )

Another reason why Amitabh and Rajesh Khanna figure higher than Rajnikanth on my rating would be the fact that the movies and the roles that they acted in were far more decent than some of the movies that Rajnikanth acted. In someways I feel Rajnikanth's roles were limited by the paucity of the quality of Tamil films in the 80's and 90's to leave a lasting impression on the mind of a viewer called Kartik Kannan. Even though some of Rajnikanth's movies were bordering on the run of the mill " I am my Mom's best son" types, it still had a huge fan following, while in the 80's and the 90's , Rajnikanths other adversaries had experimented with better movies and better roles.

So the argument is whether the quality of Rajnikanth's audience a discerning audience at all? Were they swayed too much by the hype of a man, over a stuck up" middle class, loser who wins" image?

I personally felt he had no exceptional qualities as a hero, neither did he have any quality movie (except Dalapati) since the 90's that could match the roles a Kamala Hassan or an Amitabh did. But I must say Rajnikanths star power in terms of the number of days his movies ran, is stil a record for an actor, and I keep wondering whether the brand positioning was what elavated him to his current king status.

Let the discussion begin :

The Music Season

It was a sunny day, before the sun faded away,painting the evening Chennai gorizon dark, with rain imminent. It is in such a season, that music seems to be in the air, and given the fact that I was attending a Carnatic performance, this evening, I was raring to go.


The Venue was Chennai's Vani Mahal, situated on G.N.Chetty Road.The lead singer was




Though my knowledge of music is not all that high , I nevertherless watched his conert with awe as Krishna sang with domineering gestures,enjoying singing, probably envisioning beyond the melody percieved by tyro's in music like me. Even as I say, he had a domineering gesture, in sharp contrast was a man, who looked simlpe and some one who enjoyed showing his repertoire to the knowledgable gathering at Vani Mahal.


I had recorded a few clippings of his concert that I managed to catch up.


Video 1





T.M.Krishna seems a pretty media savvy young person, who even has a website for himself to interact with his fans. I am informed, he had studied at The School, K.F.I, which was quite close to my earlier house at Adayar. Al in all, an enjoyable evening, listening to the various moods and expressions of T.M.Krishna, through his music.


Incase you are an ardent fan of Carnatic music and want daily season tickets for Concerts in Chennai(Read Complimentary) , you can contact Team Sulekha ( hemak@sulekha.net ) for Tickets.


There is a caveat though.... YOU NEED TO EITHER CAPTURE THE MUSIC CONCERT ON A DIGICAM AND BLOG ABOUT THE EVENT(A MINIMUM OF 10-15 LINES). If you are game, I suggest you call up my team mate, Hema at 044-66789810 or mail her at hemak@sulekha.net



Sulekha.com  is covering the music season on a group blog (http://musicseason.sulekha.com ), which is updated by daily blogs on the music season in hennai with reviews and pictures. Please do spread the word to music connoiseurs, about our new music blog page.  


Application Blues

The past few days have been quite busy checking out various B school brochures and seeing where to apply with my current GMAT Scores.I have lesser schools to select from as my scores are not in the 'Normal Indian" bracket, so that way I wont be wasting time even thinking about the IVY league. I have decided to schedule the GMAT sometime next year in February, which would be useful for applying for fall of 2008, but some schools may accept for the fall of 2007, especially the ones that have deadlines a little late, as far back as in April or beyond, but I would not be eligible for scholarships. Scholarships are preferable, but not essential as they are far and few in between when it comes to an MBA,but my focus on getting an admit is more so towards the course structure, my profile, the B school profile, the average GMAT score to apply at the B school and of course the Average Salary.

But somewhere down the line, the irritant that keeps nagging my mind from an ROI perspective is the fact that its a lot better, I wait a year and apply with better GMAT scores.In all likelihood, I may wait another year, but may apply to just get a feel of the programs and the interview experience, so that I can apply to the better league of colleges next year with renewed vigour.

Some of the schools where I have decided to knock the doors at least temporarily are these(subject to change- based on finances/essays and realistic admits).

Fox,Temple University- Philadelphia
Kelley- Indiana
Georgetown- Washington
UCD Micheal Smurfit SOB(School of Business)- Dublin
Peter Drucker School of Management-California

IE Business School-The Management in Marketing program-Spain

Essec Business School-Paris

INCAE Business School- Costa Rica

Oh Yeah !!! in this quest of Phoren B schools, I quite forgot some of the desi applications. I am takng JMET and Narsee Monjee(NMIMS) this Sunday and SNAP next Sunday with XAT to follow right after my GOA trip.

In between all this there are the 12 hour work days and the compulsarily made optional saturday that is there to work, leaving absolutely no time for other pursuits...(or am i a bad manager ). Too Many questions, Too much analysis, very few answers....Thats life right now.


On Your Mark, Get, Set, Go !

This particular incident came to my attention when I had gone to see of my friend last weekend at Central station, thankfully choosing to be away from Justin Kemp's slaughter on the Indians. When the evening train from Kolkata arrived at the platform where we were seated, we noticed the frenzy of porters who quickly arrived from nowhere and started to squat in serial order.I could understand they were waiting for the passengers to alight, so as to solicit their order of getting to carry the luggage. What I couldn't understand was however, the fact that the porters were aquatting at a certain position even as the train slowed.I wonder, if there is any tradition behind this act, or has it been something that has been transferred hands across generations.

Railway stations seem a lovely place to sit down and unwind memories, especially if you need a relatively not-so-costly and unobtrusive place.There is this cozy little 4 seater seat on Platform 10 of Chennai Central, a little after the Saravana Bhavan and Marry Brown Restaurant, which is not inhabited by many people. So if solitude and peaceful gossip is what you are looking for, this place with a Fresh and Honest Cafe near by seems a lovely hangout.

However dirty and yucky the stations might be, I still never seem to get bored of travelling by 2nd sleeper class. It may be a little tough trying to fit my tall frame on the limited rectangular space provided, but the very experience of travelling in a train , next to a window seat, seems to be lovely companion, providing you support, even as you keep your face on the horizontal poles on the window and waft away into thoughts.

I would always feel,as if I am on an army tank in the time of a war, (When I travel in a train) so I would condition my mind and stomach, to see anything comestible as a gastronomic delight and still I find that, the excitement of buying the dirty bondas and cutlet from the VLR stall, has never diminished. But one thing that still seems to draw a nauseating cringe to my face is the way the 2nd class toilets are maintained.The flush invariably doesnt work, and the only liquid that flows through the toilet seems to be the urine, and the male folk only add to the misery by spraying it all over. But for the toilets in 2nd class, life is still bindaas travelling by 2nd class, the biggest attraction being the amount of networking one gets to bond with people of different places and economy levels. The friendships made in a train journey are invariably like the lovely dream that lasts only for a few minutes, or more like a eye watering mirage. I have very rarely found any true companion and maintaine a friendship through such companions, though the journey and the moments spent with such strangers has always been fascinating.

My Next train journey would be on the 27th of this month,when I would be boarding the train to Goa with some of my college buddies for a much awaited re union.I am just hoping the journey is eventful and I reconnect with newer buddies.

The route that I have taken is quite a strange one, due to the lack of connecting trains and availability of tickets.I have tried to minimise the dependence on local buses, trying to make sure that the journey is confirmed, at all points and doesnt muck up, because one part of the journey depends on another part of the journey.

27 Chennai -Mangalore , leaving at 11 am

28 Reaching mangalore at 5 am , waiting for the connecting passenger train at 7 am to Madgoan.This is the KR2 Konkan railway train, replete with hajaar tunnels along the way. reaching Madgaon at lunch and boarding another passenger train that reaches Tivim, a way side station near the place we are lodged(Mapusa).

29 Explore and snore

30 Explore and snore

31 " Where's the party Tonight"?

1 Travel back ... Madgoan-Mangalore-Chennai

2 Reach Chennai at 5 am. Start running the race of life....

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