My office is taking a bunch of us on an outing to Mayajaal. It includes playing a bit of bowling and a movie. When it came to choosing a movie, I realised with the 1 pm/ 4 pm slot on a Thursday afternoon, the choices seemed too limited.

a) Kaminey- Seen it, didnt understand much anyway. Wouldnt mind seeing it again for the visuals of the Mumbai Monsoon, images of the Local Trains and a few chartbusters.

b) Kandhasamy- Heard very bad reviews, and it looks like a movie made for the masses.

c) Final Destination- Some times, I realise that if a movie has a complex plot or requires some understanding of the plot, before one watches the movie, I dont seem to enjoy it very much. So didnt really know whether to pick this or go for option 4

d) Eeeram- A new Tamil flick by Shankar, might as well watch it. Have enjoyed most of his movies except for the disastrous Rajnikanth starrer 'Sivaji'. Might end up choosing between option C or D

I dont quite think there are too many options for a company on OMR/ECR can do too much for a half day outing. I guess Mayajaal has a great corporate oppurtunity to offer a bunch of different experiences within their complex. Mayajaal sorely needs better service and better food.

The only other outing I can think of is a customised program at one of the beach resorts, with blaring music and some sports in the sun.

Any other experiences that you reccomend on OMR/ECR?


Nandi Hills- Awesome Destination for a Quick and Dirty Trip

I had been last week to Nandi Hills with my fiance. The place seems excellent for a short weekend getaway. We were there only for a part of the day, but ideally its a nice place to stay. There are 2 hotels to stay. One being Mayura Pine Guest House and the other being the horticultural bungalow in the hill. I am not too sure about the rates, but I guess it wont exceed Rs 500 a day. Its ideal to go there in the monsoons when the mist makes it lovely to wander around the park.

The only turn off there are monkeys who would scare you to death, by holding you at gun point and ordering you to give any food material you have. You should be careful, in not having a light bag, as the monkeys know to pick your bags. The monkey tried my bag, but thankfully it was very heavy due to my disorganised packing.

The place is lovely for long walks in the woods, and is commutable by public transport from Bangalore. Its 2-3 hours by road and its advisable to take the State Transport buses directly or go to Chikbalapur and then go to Nandi Hills.(Majestic Bus Terminus), as it gets difficult to drive a Car/Bike in the mist on curvy mountainous terrain.

We had our brunch and Linner at Mayura and it was a fairly inexpensive place, with basic food items being cooked. Lunch doesnt have too much of a menu, as they make what people consume the most. Roti Dal/Rice wins hands down. For people looking at Alcohol, Mayura also serves alcohol, which to me appeared strange as all through the journey, i saw signs saying Nandi hills has prohibited consumption of alcohol.

It also forms a good weekend break from Chennai, if you are tired of trips to Ooty, Pondy, Mahabs and Kutralam.


The 7 stages of a Tam Brahm Life!

Somebody at work, asked me to write a piece on 'Transformation', and while I was at it trying to put something sensible, the other thoughts that I had to forcibly put in the bin, are strung together as an article and penned below.


Tam Brahm è Tamil Brahmin

Kartik è Hypothetical Tam Brahm Character

When I think of transformation, my seventh sense works overtime to also throw synonyms called Change, Matram(Tamil) or Parivartan(Hindi). During my childhood days, having relied on too much on Wren and Martin, the difference between synonyms never existed. On getting slightly evolved in my journey from school to B school, I vaguely understood that ‘transformation’ was a wow word used along with Jargons to create an aura or awe, while ‘change’ was what dull commoners used. 5 years into corporate life and 26 years into living on earth, I will pass on my judgments on the way I see ‘transformation’. Given that I have 40 minutes and not 40 years to present my research and findings, I will stick to the sample size that I have abided by the last 26 years. Yes, I will deliberate on what ‘transformation’ does on the life of a 20 something Tam Brahm from Madras

Lets take the hypothetical case of one Mr Kartik Santhana Gopala Iyer Kannan, who is born into this world, being taught that life revolves around sambhar and curd rice, and learning which ‘amman’(Goddess) signifies what.

Now, given that Kartik is your average Tam Brahm, lets apply the theory of transformation to his life .The inflection points in the life of a Tam Brahm pretty similar to Shakespeare’s 7 stages of life are

a) His admission in School –LKG to Class 12

· As soon as Kartik is handed over by his parents, to the premises of a school, he no longer needs to recite slokams and alphabets to every passerby who comes. That’s the first transformation. You don’t need to offer unsolicited slokas and nursery rhyme bravado’s to every Tom Dick and Harry. The key take away or transformation is to SHUT UP, with pleasure!

· The second transformation is when the hormonal invasion happens within his body, he starts observing Gayatri in isolation, than the Gayatri Japam he was taught to chant thrice a day.

· He is taught to wake up at the strike of dawn when the sunrise gleams into his face, and hold his hands to a white thread, like bryan adams did to his guitar while humming ‘summer of 69’. Once he observes this parallel between his sacred thread and the guitar, while watching MTV, he takes a secret oath in his bathroom to reach the forbidden fruit of MTV. Thus begins a ‘transformation’ to access all forbidden fruits.

· The 4th transformation is when he gets inspired to do weird things with the upma his mother has left him to have while she is at work. He is obviously ‘transformed’ by coming of age movies like American pie, which he downloaded via a Torrent for a week, on his princely dial up connection!

b) His admission to an engineering college

· All through school, Kartik was taught to believe that vertical growth happens through systematic consumption of Sambhar,Rasam and Curd Rice. But he now ‘transforms’ himself by expanding ‘horizontally’ by getting a beer belly, after exploring the forbidden pleasures of alcohol.

· Alcohol was never on the Good Boy’s list of items. Back in class 9, if Kartik’s mother quizzed him on what connects Sex, Baywatch,Alcohol, MTV,Raavan,Dushasan, Gabbar Singh and last benchers, the answer would come in a jiffy as EVIL. In engineering you get all and more of that and when the forbidden fruit is no longer forbidden, nothing seems as evil.

· Kartik, for the better part of his life used to hang out at Kapaleeshwarar Temple and drink the degree coffee in Jagadamba Mess. But given that he needs to engage his hormones with the opposite sex, he decides to ‘transform’ himself to hang out at CCD, having cappuccino all by himself, in a morbid attempt to show that he has some style and spunk left in him to get some attention from the opposite sex.

· He learns that a ‘Joint’ doesn’t necessarily have to be the J in the JEE (Joint Entrance Examination). His next ‘tranformation’ J

c) His inclination to write GRE/GMAT/TOEFL

· By his third year in engineering college he has realized that the only way to escape the nagging tyranny of his parents and live a bohemian lifestyle is to write the GRE. He ‘transforms’ himself to a studious guy, who puts in hours of research after curd rice dinners to mug all the words in the newly discovered dictionary from Barrons!

· He ‘transforms’ himself to the status of a ‘Peter’ by writing emails like “ I wish to Procastinate the Conundrum , as I am Peregrinating the apostles of Storydom on Celluloid”, which otherwise loosely translates to “ I am bunking the boring class discussion, as I am hanging out in Sathyam Theatre”

· He realizes that the time spent on Shaadi.com and fropper was not worth effort, as educational coaching centers like the TIME’s and the IMS’es would actually do well in ‘connecting people’. This transformation applies strictly to people who show their nerdly and virtual skills off as mating signs to attract females.

d) His Job Offer in the IT company on OMR

· His life transforms for the better, once he has a campus offer from an IT company and by the time he joins work, he realizes that this is far more fun than college. The company pays you to enjoy 5 months of honeymoon nestled in the quiet woods of Mysore with chicks sampled from all over India. This phase of life ‘transforms’ his national integration skills and helps him connect with his failed class 8 geography lessons.

· He ‘transforms’ himself to be this night bird ogre who develops an intense fascination for foreign chocolates and midnight ISD calls with his officemates who seem to be enjoying a bohemian lifestyle in the name of an onsite trip!

e) His first and many Onsite Trips

· No other event can transform the tam brahm as profound as an Onsite trip. They ‘transform’ to hardcore multitaskers as they balance the support calls along with their las Vegas weekend trips. Even as they spend the time in the clubs in Las Vegas, their eyes are also on the Blackberry that reminds him of the tickets pending with his clients

· The Tam Brahm who was conditioned and made to believe that Pamela Anderson was this lady in red, who appeared in TV, is now ‘tranformed’ enough to believe that she can be his, for 10 minutes and for just 20 friggin dollars!. Now the Tam Brahm, changes his stance and declares vociferously ‘I’m Possible’, from the loser line of ‘Impossible’

f) His admission to B school

· After having spent the better part of a bohemian lifestyle in Phoren lands and wanting the same salary pay scales as his onsite salary, the Tam Brahm decides to ‘transform’ himself to a leader in a B School.

· ‘Transformation’ is shown immediately when the dear Tam Brahm learns that life at a B school is all about Managing relative competition. Competition is all over from Grades, bidding on electives, chicks, coveted million dollar jobs and even competition in standing for lunch.

· The next ‘Transformation’ comes visible in his CV, during placement season when his core motto changes from “ Best Pay Packet” to “ Best Profile” to “ Decent Company” to “Job in Hometown”, across employers at the same instant in time.

g) His Marriage

· Having got a good Job, a great B school on his CV, and a Green card, (apart from the free Red color ICICI card) he hunts for a bride with a few parameters which go pretty similar to the SQL query learnt in engineering

· Choose female from ‘List of Iyer Brides” from “ Vadama Subcaste Only” living in “Triplicane/Mylapore/Matunga/Karol Bagh”, having Gotharam “ Kousika” and Nakshatram as “ Rohini, having dad employed in “State Bank” and Blah Blah Blah…….until he finds his ‘soulmate’ through the databases of Bharatmatrimony.

· The Tam Brahm becomes a father, and starts behaving like how his dad behaved, so that he is accepted as part of the conservative society of Mylapore, and the same cycle repeats when next lineage of Tam Brahms are born!

· And beyond that Life never “Transforms”, it only changes..and then the Tam Brahm realizes that “ Change “ is the only thing that’s constant in life. The problem is that law of dimishing marginal utility caused ‘transformation’ to seem like ‘change’ and after 20 years of marriage and 2 kids studying in the US of A, he gets back to agreeing with the Wren and Martin guide that Change and Transformation don’t seem to be different after all!

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