November 27, 2010

A Vessel for the Soul

It was his favorite time of the day.

Little Anuj, 9 years old, was anxious for 12.30 PM to arrive. He repeatedly rapped his bench with his tiny fingers, his legs constantly shifting every 2 seconds; he was oblivious to his science teacher’s monotonous droning about the Earth’s ecosystem. As the clock in his classroom inched closer to that time of the day, he hurriedly dumped his books in his bag and counted of the seconds for the wonderful time to come.

Having lost his parents in a freak car accident at the tender age of three, his grandmother was everything to him. She loved him like none other. And when Anuj started going to school, his grandmother would bring lunch for him daily at 12.30PM like clockwork and they both would go to the lone peepal tree behind the school, a spot they both loved, were she would feed him with all her affection and would have a new story to narrate everyday. After all the fun and laughter, Anuj would take a nap for 15 minutes on her lap and would go back to his classes as usual. This was what Anuj looked forward to everyday.

And so, 12.30 came and Anuj ran out and towards the peepal tree, his eyes frantically searching for his lovely grandmother. And there she was. Like clockwork. She would not miss it for anything. Her face, a sign of the prettiness she enjoyed in her younger days, her hair, like the winter snow and her welcoming smile. He would do anything to see that smile all the time.

But strangely, she did not speak. Nor did she have any story to tell. Little Anuj wondered why. He ate in silence, under the scorching heat of the sun, which thankfully was lessened by the cool shade of the tree. And as he looked up at her, he saw a mysterious sense of calm and sadness in her eyes…the meaning of which, his young mind could not understand. Her eyes did not leave him, lovingly gazing at him; she finally opened her mouth and said

“Come Anuj. Come rest on my lap”

Little Anuj, without further hesitation, rested his head on her lap. Those 15 minutes on her lap, seemed like an eternity to him…in the comfort of her lap, he mumbled to himself

“I love you granma…”

and as her cool fingers caressed his forehead he dozed off seeing her pretty face…

1.50 PM. Anuj woke with a start. He knew he was late for class. He looked around for his grandmother, but she was nowhere to be seen.

“Maybe she left me to sleep. As usual” He thought. And quickly he hurried back to his classroom.


3.20 PM. Little Anuj, on his way back home, thought about what exciting delicacies his grandmother had prepared for the evening and about the latest animation movie, she had promised to take him in the night. As he neared his home, he saw a moderate crowd, mostly his neighbours and some of his relatives standing outside his house. He was confused. Upon reaching the gate, thirty pairs of eyes looked at him, filled with melancholy. Still confused, he reached the main hall.

And there she was. Her pretty face, her snowy hair…But no smile came to welcome him.

Anuj heard somebody whispering “Poor soul…suffered a fatal stroke. The maids found her at around 12.20 PM

Little Anuj understood.

November 22, 2010

Through the Window

And so I Flew

Band of Brothers
It was a lazy sunday afternoon..not much scenery around my place though :) Yet..the sky looked like the Sun had spilt its molten juice all over it, giving it the radiance of a 100 Suns! The most beautiful dusk i'v ever seen for a long time..And all of a sudden, our black brothers arrived from the distant sky, their deep and dark wings flapping against the wind..and then they settled atop the highest point in Saligramam (area in Chennai)...Their ever familiar crowing, a signal to their kin...and in a few minutes did i see close to 50 crows singing (crowing) in unison...who knows why? Maybe it was their way to pay a tribute to The Creator of All. I did not care. As i took in the evening light, with my camera clicking away to glory...i wished the day would never end. I wished i could take flight as these creatures did...Maybe one day i can...One day.

November 21, 2010

The Splendor of Virupakshapura

The Beautiful Virupaksha Temple
If you thought that the people of yore had faded away into the sands of are in for a rude shock. This picture was taken in the mid summer of 2009, a trip my dad and i made to the state of Karnataka. Our initial program was to visit the holy place of Navabrindavanam, the place where the followers of Madhava Acharya are living in thier samadhi state. I strongly recommend you all to visit, for its scenic location, spiritual aura and its eternal tranquility. 

As part of the 3 day trip to Karnataka, once we had finished sight seeing the beautiful locales of Anegundi, we decided to make a short trip to the erstwhile Kingdom of the Vanaras. Hampi. After two hours of travel from our Hotel, we finally reached the ruins of the Vijayanagara City. My eyes popped out..and my jaw dropped. My mind frantically searching for a way to describe what i saw in front of me. Then i got it. Only one word. Breathtaking. The picture below from Wikipedia (i could not take an overview shot myself) is testimony to that.

Wikipedia - Creative Commons Share Attribution Alike 3.0 License
Given the limited time we had, my excitement meter shot up to a 1000 points, my inner child wanting to see every single historical site and my knowledge-seeking self wanting to savor the intricate details of the architecture, myths and stories of this great village/city.

Some of the notable places to see include the awesome Virupaksha Temple, said to have uninterrupted service from the 7th century. The temple by itself is a hallmark for the architecture marvel of the ancients. Within the temple, inside a room the shadow of the main gopura appears inverted through a hole on the wall. Today we call it the Pinhole Effect. Amazing right ?

There are many other places at Hampi, which unfortunately i could not visit..but i did walk through the old Hampi Bazaar, saw the huge Nandi at the end of the bazaar and a few other interesting sites. Sadly i could not see the Vittala Temple...But adding effect to the already mesmerising Hampi, were the sudden rains! To be surrounded by such stunning monuments with the rain pouring was...just out of this world! 

Krishna Temple
A Part of the Ruins
Hampi Bazaar

It was definitely one of the best places i'v been to...would definitely want to go back again, spend a couple of days more and see everything else i could not see previously! Being one of the core areas of the Vijayanagara Empire, even to this day you can feel the people from the past living, basking in the old glory of this enormous empire...

Like i said, the people of yore have not faded away in the sands of history. Incredible Karnataka indeed!

Finally.. with a heart full of memories, i bid adieu to you all! Until the next time...Cheers!

P.S - All the pictures shown here except the one from Wikipedia were taken from my Sony Digital Camera. :) Your thoughts on the photos are welcome! Do leave a comment below!

My Life is a Cartoon

Being an amateur visual designer, i had taken part in an online contest called "HP You on You" hosted by Hewlett Packard, where the contestants had to create a original video describing themselves, the duration of which is supposed to last for a minute! A major challenge was to express yourself without showing your face in the video!! Exciting huh? Other restrictions included using the media kit provided by HP i.e. the music, the banners etc. So in actual sense we had to create a video for under 55 seconds! Me along with my friend Ashwin Ganesh, worked on this video for close to 10 days so that we could meet the deadline set by the organisers...

But do you know what the funny and most cruel part is?? Due to a miscalculation of the US time (yes how dumb can we get), we submitted the video a day after the deadline :( You could imagine the frustration for both of us...All the hard work down the drain...the long hours into the night without any sleep...but no matter...i'm sure you all can appreciate it!! :)

But only if we had won...$25000 would have been ours. sigh :(

Anyway do not hesitate to leave a comment below! Cheers!

P.S Kindly excuse the horrid voice-over! It was a last minute addition!

November 20, 2010

The Sky Above, The Sea Below

This picture was taken in the Andaman Islands...Beauty at its best! Even though it was not sunny that had an effect of the Caribbean...crystal clear water...bits of small islands...cloudy skies...white sandy shores... and me...braving the elements ! :) For all you nature loving people! Andaman is the place to be! Pack your bags now and go!...go and breathe in the tranquility and splendor of the Andaman.


November 19, 2010

A Sense of Calm Prevails

When i came into this world kicking and screaming, You were there.
When i pooped as a child, You were there.
When i needed a playmate for my toys, You were there.
When i entered junior school, You were there.
As i grew up, You were there.
When i needed a hug, You were there.
When i needed somebody to cry on, You were there.
When i wanted to laugh madly, You were there.
When i was hungry, Your were there.
When i achieved something, You were there.

But...the unfairness of life has taken you. Yet, you did not give up without a fight. Now when i want something...You are not there...

For 22 have taken care of me, showered me with all your love and affection, fed me with your delicious food and what not. Your joyous face always made me come running to you. 

Yet, on this day...i watched you. Frozen. Shrunk. and burnt to ashes. Your absence affects us all...give us the strength to get over you yet, not forget you.

You always loved the beach... And to the beach you finally went... 

Rest in Peace and watch over us my dear Paati...

November 14, 2010

A Place to Be Naked

Before the Broca’s area of your brain makes you wander off to the land of i-can-streak-all-i-want…hold on I say!! I’m not talking about any place where you can actually get naked! But the funny thing is most of us have been to this place…this place to be naked is otherwise called as a Gymnasium! Ok so what’s the connection between getting naked and the bloody gym!? Well, if I were a Spartan (King Leonidas maybe?) in ancient Greece, I would be working out without a single shred of cloth to cover my body! To the Greeks, the gymnasium was a place where physical and intellectual education was imparted to the young athletes who competed in the nude. This practice was a tribute to their mighty gods and an appreciation of the male physique. Interesting isn’t it! 

Its a funny world!

Cutting to the present, so I joined a fancy gym located in one of the posh locales of namma Chennai, with the aspiration of gaining a physique which would at least be half as awesome as what Gerard Butler had in the jaw dropping movie, 300. This being my 3rd gym, I should say i was quite excited due to the fact that the gym is said to be one of the best in Chennai, with dedicated trainers, loads of fitness equipment, huge training floors and most importantly, a lot of eye candy for the visually starved ;) 

And so began, my 3rd attempt to sleep early, wake up early, hit the gym, go for work, spend time with friends, come back home, study and once again sleep early! To me this is a vicious cycle, screw up one, you screw them all! And on a fresh Monday morning, I entered the gym and informed the receptionist that today was my first day. The receptionist with her Colgate smile picked up the phone and called one of the trainers to assist me in the workout. The trainer, even though weary-eyed took me through the basics of the treadmill, the cross trainer, rowing etc.

Three weeks have passed by, and during one of the 20 minute treadmill thumping exercise, I observed. Now what is so new about that? We all observe our surroundings right? But the strange thing with me is, I like to see the way people carry themselves in a public place like the gymnasium. Like I said before we all have been to the gym at some point in our lives, and we can’t deny the fact that human beings are complex creatures! They come with different personalities, different attitudes and even in different shapes!!

However varied we might be, we do have some common patterns, we belong to a specific type and you, you who are reading this post know it as well. It is with this thought I made some very close observations. Observations of the place to be naked!

Say you are working out in the gym right now. Just pause the pumping music of your iPod, put down the barbells your holding and look around. What do you see? For the gym-hopper (like me) this would be a common but strange sight.

Turn your gaze to the cardio section; you would see a 40 year old uncle, bespectacled, balding and with a decent patch of hair around the head, dressed in a huge tee-shirt, with his chubby cheeks and copious stomach, struggling and sweating to keep pace with the speed of the treadmill, huffing and gasping for breath, with the dream that one day he can fit into his old 32 sized pants once again. Poor sod. Let him be.

Now look to the EFX cross trainer section; you would see a woman in her late fifties, with heavy duty make up, clad in a salwar, with gold bangles and necklace, slightly on the heavier side, lazily working out, watching the television. Now these women have never been to a gym in their lives before and hence the shyness to wear proper gym clothing! About the gold ornaments, I really don’t know!

Now comes the juicy part, err…I mean interesting part! Divert your attention to the corner of the gym; you would have definitely seen her! Yes, the bong bombshell, the bipasha look-alike, the one person who makes the rest of the men increase the speed on the treadmill and put on a few extra kilos on the bench press! She would most probably be dressed in a clinging outfit, straightened hair and with a seductive gait. Basically she is every man’s dream. God bless her because she makes it a worthwhile effort to visit the gym.

And there is always the trainer. Always. With his big hunky muscles and a flirtatious smile slapped across his face, short to medium haircut, he would always help the damsels in distress. The damsel in distress in this case is Ms.Bombshell. Both of them actually hit it off quite well. The workout sessions are a sight to watch… But alas! new bees like me are ignored, like as though we had joined the gym for free! And one other thing about trainers is their love to prescribe supplements to the men pumping iron. I’m sure many of you have been asked this question.

“Supplements saapdunga saar! Appo dhan pa udambu weight potu muscle laam valarum"

Well. That’s the trainer for you!!

The next person you will come across is the man-behind-the-butt! Yes, this is your typical pervert, always behind a woman’s behind, always looking for a chance to ogle and drool. This guy nicknamed The Ass Man does not come to the gym to workout. His objectives are clear and simple. Ass. Ass. And only Ass! As soon as he spots his prey, his eyes pop out, his heart rate quadruples, his mind starts thinking of a way to ogle but not get caught. This guy could be anybody. But most of the times, it’s either a man in his early twenties or a middle aged man. So all you women out there…beware!

Now just turn around and watch the weights section. Do you see that Arnold Schwarzenegger look alike? He is the beef cake of the gym, muscles so huge that even my thigh looks small compared it. Pumped with protein supplements he does not care about the people around him. As he adds 110 lbs on the bicep curl, the entire gym watches in awe as his biceps pop out, the nerves ready to burst, his eyes with fury, the sweat from his brows grazing the ground, and as the repetitions increase, one wonders if he is human at all! Unmatched and unrivalled, his body is every weightlifter’s dream.

And on the aerobics floor, it is possible to see a couple working out together. These two canaries are so into each other, that they are oblivious of their surroundings. All the guy cares about is the girl and all the girl cares about is the guy. The guy would be tall and lanky while the girl would be of medium stature, sweet looking with a pretty smile…Ok now leave those two lovebirds and move on.

These people are hard to miss. Trust me you have seen and been annoyed by them. They are the megaphones of the gym, the cellulite aunty in her late sixties, the skinny lady in her late forties and the uncles in his late fifties. They come fully dressed up in every brand present in the market, yapping away to glory about how they bought a new sari for Rs.20000 or some latest gossip about their relatives. With their loud guffaws and shrieks of laughter you just wish they would go away!

Well…I’ve sort of made you see the complexities and differences of the people around us. We can easily relate ourselves to one of the specimens mentioned above. That’s the beauty of it. But…there is always a big but (no pun intended) by the end of this long post, you must be wondering –

The writer of this post never mentioned anything about himself??

Well…me… I’m the skinny guy at some lone corner of the gym trying extremely hard, with all my effort to do some simple push ups! And where do I fit in here? I’m the observer, I just see what people do and rant about it to readers like you! That’s pretty much it :) and what am I going to do now? It’s back to the push ups for me!

1…groan…2….grunt...gnnnn... …3….arghh…4…until then! Cheerio!

Special Thanks to Sandhya Prabhat for agreeing to be the guest cartoonist for this post despite her busy schedule and also being able to deliver in such a short span of time. Many thanks to her for bringing alive what I had portrayed in my mind. That according to me is the characteristic of a true artist. Both of us hope that this post has been as much fun as it was, for her when she made the cartoon and for me when I wrote the post. Please do leave a comment below if you liked it!

About Sandhya-

Sandhya Prabhat is from Chennai, India. She is a freelance illustrator and animator, currently pursuing her final year MFA in Animation and Digital Arts in NYU Tisch Asia School of the Arts, Singapore. She has a Bachelor's degree in English Literature from Stella Maris College, Chennai. She also enjoys reading, writing and appreciates good vegetarian food. She is currently working on her thesis (animated) short film which will be completed in May 2011. 

No, she does not have a blog yet but hopes to have one soon. 

She can be reached at

November 4, 2010

Why Diwali is Awesome

Dear All,

Of the zillion festivals we Indians celebrate, Deepavali (Diwali) is unlike any other festival. It is that day when the little ones make a fuss to have a bath early in the morning, it is that day where the men of the house wear silk veshtis and the women of the house are busy making an exaggerated lunch, it is that day we all squeal in joy when we burst the 5000 walas, zamin chakkars, flowerpots and the other innumerable varieties of crackers. 

It is the day we take a month to prepare for, what with the heavy duty shopping, buying gifts and sweets for relatives and friends, making sure that this day will be a day to cherish, for the entire family.

As the clock strikes 12, calls fly, at the speed of light , the annas and akkas living in the US, the teen who just got a girlfriend, the guy with a huge calling list and not to forget the second by second status updates posted by overly enthusiastic people like you and me! Absolute Chaos. But nevertheless fun :)

So, on this wonderful occasion, i would like to wish you all a Happy and Prosperous Deepavali (Diwali) !! Have lots of fun, keep control on the sweet-binging spree, be cautious while bursting crackers and don't forget to get the blessings of your parents (because you will be rewarded heavily i say! bring on the dough!)

Happy Deepavali once again! And thank you for the amazing support! This blog would not have received the response it did if not for you! Promise to keep you updated with my thought flow. 



November 3, 2010

Captain Lives on Forever

Abhishek Ananthan, CA
1988 - 2010
Dear Abhishek (Captain, Abhi, Chubby, Gaja etc),

On this day…you’d still be cracking your insane jokes...
On this’d still be sitting in front of the TV and watching old cricket matches...
On this day…you’d still be eating paruppu sadam with ruffles lays…
On this day…you’d still be talking about your CA exams...
On this day…you’d make us all forget our worries with your contagious happiness…
On this day…you’d still give that big grin as though the world’s problems were nothing for you…

And On this day……..we would have said… “Happy Birthday da Captain!!”

But …you are not here…and that sucks…no more buying rainbow color underwear for your birthday, no more trying to make you drink a drop of the curd you hate so much and no more trying to lift your ‘mass’ to give some serious b’day bumps…

If you do not know who Abhishek is…he is my best friend right from 5th grade… and a great buddy to a lot others too…if there was such a thing as unconditional friendship…it was Abhi. No expectations, no silly fights. Extremely brilliant, dynamic, street smart, drop-dead funny, adored by the women for his chubby cheeks, an awesome brother, even more awesome son to his parents, bold and a person who never gave up. In short, he was unlike any other... Admired by many (like me), he was a guy to whom we looked up to.

Like somebody said…The almighty works in mysterious ways…none of us will understand why you had to go away so soon...when you were meant for such great things... Maybe you are too nice a person to be here…only He knows.

When we were Young
Those were the times :)
Curd Madness
On your 22nd Birthday, when things should have been different, I hope you are happy wherever you have helped me a lot when life was tough and I will not forget that…forever.

Well. That’s about it machi. You came; you had us in awe with your persona and you went. Just like that.

In a way, you are lucky…life was kind to you…but us…we still have our time to bide...

If He has given you all the comforts, I hope He has given you a laptop and a wi-fi connection to see this as well!

Take Care da…you are sorely missed…maybe u did not pass on…maybe you just went ‘a level up’ and we are still stuck in limbo. Who knows?

Even though there is no other way for me to tell you how your absence has affected us…I guess this song(s) will reach your ears…and will remind you that… You will always be remembered...

Happy Birthday once again…Hope you have unlimited supply of Hot Chips’s paneer butter masala and unlimited pictures of Trisha by your side! Don’t forget to work on those 8 pack abs you always talked about!

Captain Gajendra

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