Dec 31, 2010

Bike Drive on New Year Eve

Until evening, I was having no plans on how to celebrate the new year's eve. I could go home and celebrate the dawn of the new year with my parents, or I could celebrate it here with my friends, or since the music season is not yet over, I could go and listen to some concert, or I could spend an evening by watching films either in laptop or in theatre if I could get ticket, or I could simply roam around the city and be back to my room around night. These were some of the options that came to my mind when I contemplated on what to do.

The time was around 7 pm and I still don't have a concrete plan. I was making some chess moves on gameknot, reading to Shobhan Saxena's thought provoking articles of TOI, and was having room-made black tea when I got the call from my friend. He asked "Hey...are you awake? If so, I want to know if you are willing to join us to Parfait for dinner?". The idea of having dinner at Parfait located in Taramani link road was exciting as they prepare excellent cakes. So I decided to go there and so I changed my clothings from extra casuals to somewhat decent casuals and got ready in five minutes, joined with two of my friends who were waiting for me already at my hostel entrance.

We managed to by pass the traffic and reach the destination by our bike, but Parfait is such a small place that they were already choking with orders. All the chairs were occupied and more people were waiting outside to get their turn. We thought its not worth a long wait. Since both my friends are from Maharashtra, I suggested them to try Spice Masters, a small dosa centre located near Velacherry bus stand where we can have excellent south Indian dinner at low cost.

So we biked our way to the Vijayanagar bus stand from Parfait through the Taramani link road, all the way honking on our bells and braking the wheels to avoid collision with chaotic traffic and decided to park our cycles near an auto stand and walk to the place. The judicious decision to walk to the venue proved to be useful as so many people were on the roads today, some with their family and some with friends. Spice Masters has Adai avial and Idiyappam with coconut milk as their special menu today. We ordered the same, and my friends added plain rava dosa to their menu. We finished our dinner with a cup of filter coffee each.

That's me having bunny hug softie

Opposite to Spice Masters is the Kalinga restaurant attached to which is a softies ice cream shop in their basement. We decided to have a softie, and so we crossed the road leaving our cycles at the auto stand. One of my friend and myself ordered for Bunny Hug, one of their special, while my other friend ordered some other variety. We had our ice creams, returned to auto stand, took our cycles and biked our way back to the institute. None of us were ready to call it the end of our new year eve and so we thought of going to Besant nagar beach. However, my early morning appointments made me to opt out of the plan and so we gossiped outside my hostel about local and state level politics, called it an end and parted in our directions.

Dec 26, 2010

Christmas trip to Alamparai fort

A superposition of strokes of icy cirrus, splendid and dark heap of cumulus, and the rhythmic rhyme of bell from a nearby church marked the beginning of my Christmas day. The joyous cycle ride from my hostel to the insti's main gate in the cold and crisp air bring in some soothing experience that ended up with a cup of "hot" chips coffee. It was while having my coffee that I self-assessed my health condition - "Should I go for it?". It's only a couple of days back that I caught a cold and I have been on medication which had drained all the energy that was left in my body.

"I still can stop all this", I told myself, "by calling Prasad and come up with an excuse". "Sorry yaar, my cycle tire got punctured...I overslept and just got brother is coming to meet me..." and so many such excuses came to my mind while I aimlessly browsed for an application on my mobile. "Why not I facebook one more time?, or I can check the weather forecast for today", thinking this I opened my application folder from the menu. Something odd caught my eye that time, ya... it was the application I downloaded previous night, but didn't install and configure as I slept while the downloading was in progress. What is it? Nimbu or something? No...Nimbuzz. Is it from Google (because it has "buzz" on it)? No! It seems to be a chat application.

Well, it's asking me for a tagline! What shall I type here? What's coming in my mind at this moment? Concentrate...Think hard...
I think my inner voice told, "Let's do it"! Is this a tagline? Or is there a hidden message that tells me what I should decide upon that moment? we go, "Hello Prasad! This is Jam, I just reached the main gate. I'll catch a bus to Tiruvanmiyur now. I'll call you once I reach the bus stand. Please guide me to reach your place from there on".'s not about visiting my friend's place. It's a different thing. It's a thing that sounds like "motorcycle diaries" of Che. It was decided a week ago that my friend Prasad and I will go on a motorcycle drive in his Rajdoot to Alamparai Fort and the date was fixed to be on the Christmas day. I didn't ask Santa Claus for a gift, but little did I expect that time that there was indeed a gift waiting for me to come and pick it up! My confused beginning soon started to evaporate like mist on the grass in a sunlight and soon the enthu of the drive overwhelmed me completely. And thus we started our drive, from the periphery of Neelangarai, a drive that will last for a little less than 2 hours with a break in between for breakfast and tea. A drive that would take you to the road that is frequently travelled; the East Coast Road drive to Muttukad and Mahabalipuram; the road with a view of silvery reflection of the rising sun on the tropical waters in front of Nithyakalyana Perumal temple, the road that is used to frequent between Chennai and Pondicherry, the road which is simply used to exploit the pleasure of driving. It requires a different level of enthu to search and find a location such as Alamparai fort through the road that is less traveled by, and such is the enthu my friend Prasad posses, who had frequented to this fort a number of times in the past.

 The entrance

Once a magnificent fort, but now its nothing but ruins, Alamparai fort is located in a village called Kadapakkam, about 50km down south from Mamallapuram. The fort was used during wartime and also as a port, thus I came to know from the numerous sources on the internet. When I heard the name for the first time, I thought its "Alam (banyan) + Parai (rocks)", meaning the fort with a banyan tree. We did spot some banyan tree rooted on the dilapidated walls which, once upon a time served as the walls of the fort.

Prasad (left) and myself (right) with Prasad's Rajdoot

Set in a typical village background, the village of Alamparai fort is a scenic beauty with lush greeneries on one side, and backwater fisheries on the other. The people here are found to be either at the fish market bargaining for the catch, or playing cards under a shady banyan tree. We reached the entrance of the fort, parked our Rajdoot in front of a modern-day structure that housed a village family, asked them to take care of our helmets while we are on for the venturing. I should mention the hospitality of those village people here, for only they can not only agree to take care of our helmets but also asked if we were coming on a long drive without having our lunch. In none of my world would I offer a stranger a meal and hospitality that we experienced!

 The ruined remains

After taking photos of the ruined fort from various positions, we went on a boating trip to the beach through the backwaters. The view of the fort from the backwaters tells us how the fort would have looked like once upon a time. In fact, the highlight of this trip is the boat ride through the backwaters, which has got us two new friends, the boat drivers Ranjith and Kumaran, both localities who survive on fishing and taking the fort visitors on a boating trip.

A portion of ruined fort wall lying on backwaters

It's not the "road less travelled" thing, nor the fort or the backwaters, nor the hospitality shown by the village people, nor the drive on long stretches of the traffic less road on which you could not spot even a single bumpy drive or potholes, nor the scenic beauty on both sides of the drive that highlighted our trip, but a simple and extraordinary experience of having a siesta in a temple premises in some remote village located on the ECR road! The nap refreshed both of us and we both could feel the reborn much-needed enthu in us that helped us to complete the trip. As my friend said, "If you aren't enthu of driving, you can't enjoy the ride".

Dec 24, 2010

My recent movie log

My film watching activity is not as buzzing as reading books. However, I decided to give a break for my reading and watch some movies to catch up with the motion picture industry. Some of the films I watched, no need to mention, are adapted based on popular books, such as "The Notebook" by Nicholas Sparks. The other films that I watched, only those I liked, finds its mention here:

Following, Memento and Inception by Christopher Nolan
A walk to remember and Notebook, written by Nicholas Sparks
Due Date (English comedy)
Mynaa (tamil movie)
Vaa Quarter Cutting (tamil movie, a bit boring though, can watch it once)

I half watched Nandhalala, though my friend strongly recommended me to watch it fully. I ll watch it later when I can find some time. I am planning to watch Harry Potter's part 1 of seventh sequel on Sunday if I could get a seat in Inox or Sathyam. Other films on my to watch list are "The Tourist", "Black Swan" and "Man-Madhan-Ambu", the last one is a tamil flick.

Dec 22, 2010

Chennai in December

I am having a good time and a bad time since yesterday evening.

One of my friend who is working on a thesis for his Master's got a job offer through campus placement cell from one of the best core companies in India. He came from a village background, and faced lot of difficulties in getting educated with the limited resources he had. I am so happy for him.

 My friend's job treat at Rain Forest, Adyar

Chennai is facing one of its worst ever winter this year. The mercury dips below normal low temperature and sets a record every day! Cold weather is  OK, but cold and humid is terrible. Its highly unpleasant, at least for me, and the worst you can imagine in these days is to catch cold. The cold virus spreads like California wild fire, with the weather condition providing the fuel to propagate.

Chennai in December is famous for the Carnatic music season. All the halls and mandaps are booked during this month for which classical music stalwarts are called for to preside the dais and exhibit their talents. While I am interested in classical music, I hate crowds and so I din't make it to any of those concerts. I heard there will be a concert organized by our music club during first week of new year. I am looking forward for a good evening then.

Dec 21, 2010

The Setting Moon and the Rising Venus

PS: The following post was written when I started chronicling in another domain.  I decided to merge my chronicles with this blog, however, I have imported those articles as it is.

What is the perfect way to start a blog than wishing you a Good Morning! While I am writing this, the Sun is just getting up and stretching his (time) arms from the eastern horizon.

The morning view of the sky was splendid today. While the setting moon captivated my attention towards the west, the rising Venus, which you can't see during winter unless you are nocturnal like me, or an early bird to rise before the Sun, is certainly a sight to watch. Here are the photographs of those two celestial bodies that I took with my Sony H55 Cybershot camera.

 The setting full moon on the west

 The rising Venus from the east

Pardon me for the noises in the image as its too dark and I don't have a tripod to capture the photo with long exposure.

Dec 2, 2010

Review of Mynaa

Mynaa is a tamil film released during Diwali. But I get to know about the film only recently, and happen to see it as well. The first impression about the film is not so good, however, if you are a person who believes in "first impression is the best", you are in for a surprise! Because I loved this film as it progressed. I felt like I am reading a classic love story and not a movie!

The likable things from the movie are the location at which the film is set. The story revolves around a love story between a couple who lives in a backward village area amidst the beautiful hills. From the film, I found that the people don't have many basic facilities such as roads, electricity and water. The only way to reach this village is by a jeep which keep ferrying people from base of the hills until evening. The place looked like a forest area and as I guessed, there is a wild elephant chase scene in between.

The other thing that I liked is the philosophical line of thought, which can be summarized in one word: fate. The male protagonist happens to threaten the mother of Mynaa (obviously heroine of this film) because she wanted her to marry a rich guy from neighbouring village. One can't say she is against love; at the least, I would say she is trying to think practically. Having lost her life to a drunkard, she wanted her daughter to live happily by marrying her to a rich guy. This result in protagonist being sent to jail. He had to escape since he doesn't want Mynaa to be forcefully married while he is away. The escape happened during diwali, which is Thalai Diwali for the S.I (first diwali since marriage which is celebrated grand in in-law's house) who is longing to go to his in-law's house for celebration.

All is well if it ends well, so goes the sayings. The situation that happens in between which eased the tension between the police and the accused made one to think that Love eventually wins, however, the tragic ending twisted the story and that's the part I liked loved the most. In my opinion, Mynaa is one of the best movie from Tamil industry.

My ratings: 4/5