Monday, July 29, 2013

Encounters ~ Shudddup and get ya cup of tea !

It has been a long time since i blogged something of this genre, not that we don’t have topics to blog but it was due to the so called time factor and my new hobby ! encounter_ekaambaram The title as it reads “ Encounters” might have reminded you of some terrific Police stories like Kaakha Kaakha, Vettayaadu Vilayaadu and all, isnt it ? The picture to the left was added specifically to clarify the contents of this blog !  So you now know what this is about :)

Well ok, first things first, what do you think about the role that actor vadivelu played in this movie “MaruthaMalai” ?? It was totally hilarious and one of his career best roles, no doubts about that, but have you personally met such a policeman in your life ? I have met so many !!


If I was asked to sort these incidents chronologically, then I’d put this first. I was staying in an area named Pammal during those college days and the land lady lead her life with (dhool) Sorna akka  as her role model  (we can surely find sorna akka’s portrait in one of her bedrooms).  It was very tough those days to survive without a two wheeler and so I asked my mom to send my Kawasaki 280 cc (bajaj spirit) from Tuticorin.  Once that arrived through Vivegam bus services, I collected it at around 4 am and  left it at the front of the house. The same day I had to leave early to my college as well and so my bike was still there at the front. I parked the vehicle late that night within that compact parking space, assuming that the land lady was very well aware of it. The very next day again I had to start early as I had to pick up my dad from the Airport (using that bike) and then leave to college via bus. My beloved land lady never  cared about this when I informed her a week back, but now she some how found that vehicle parked in front of her house to be  suspicious. The very next day when I came back home, I saw a group of police force surrounding my house. I was indeed very happy, I told to myself “One day or the other we surely knew that this lady is going to get arrested for all the atrocity and that day has come !” But when i came a little closer, I found that they were inspecting my bike ! As soon as I entered the scene, the land lady came running in, she said, “Thambi, did you know ? that a terrorist has parked this vehicle in front of our house” .. I was like, WHAT??? !!, she continued before I could open my mouth, “and that suspect is supposedly roaming in our area”.. This time I was really mad, “ this is my bike, and when i came to tell you about this, you never listened to what I said but instead you were meticulously explaining the metti oli scene to your sister” .. “and now you say I’m a terrorist” .. I turned towards the S.I., i told him, “Sir, this bike belongs to me, and these are the documents (RC papers / Insurance). He looked at me as if I stole that bike, i explained him the out of sync situation between me and the land lady which resulted in this hi-fi investigation. He was not interested in any of that, “I am going to arrest you and file a FIR, so that you get expelled from your college” . WTF, i was totally confused and frustrated, I asked him the reason, instead he questioned me back, “WHERE IS YOUR LICENSE??” .. I told him that it is yet to arrive in a courier, and which was why I had not taken it out. He said, “ I don’t know that and all, if you have this bike, you will drive ‘ONE DAY’ without the license and you might kill somebody, so I’m arresting you for that offense” . (Oru manasaaatchiyae illaatha police innaiku than da paarkuraen) I had a mild doubt that if he had any pre-cogsmarudhamalai predicting crimes in his department. The land lady from behind gestured me to bribe him, I took my wallet and counted all that I had. 74 rupees !!  I gave 70 rupees to him, he looked back, made a head count I guess and said, “so many have contributed (Iraq nithikaagava da collect panreeenga), give us 100 rupees” .. I told him that I am a student from so and so college, and that is all I have got. He got that remaining 4 rupees change I had, and he said that he’ll come back again to check my license. I guess I would have been the first person to pay fine for the bike parked in a garage and special thanks to that landlady  !! I thought it was those policemen’s duty to check these details until he grabbed my 4 rupees :)


The second story involves my friend Romelus fernando, who was caught in a traffic signal for a traffic violation that was created minutes back. (Guess they carry all the sign boards in their hands, and plant them wherever they want to) This is a real incident (that happened 3-4 years from now), and we were the people involved in this.  He had no other choice, but to bribe him and leave immediately for his meeting at office. He had a slight doubt, what if we get caught in the next signal ?? we don’t even have a receipt to show !!  He was not afraid to ask that because he had already paid the bribe #likeaboss, for which the constable replied a cyptic word “Kuruvi” (sparrow) in his ears. And as he expected, he was charged with another rule violation IPCxy1az in the next signal, he immediately uttered the word “Kuruvi”. To his surprise the constable let him go almost immediately. As soon as he came back, he told all his friends about the new key word communication that our Tamil Nadu traffic polices were using. A week after that, he was again caught near valluvar koattam signal for speeding. Tada !!! he got reminded of the keyword, and told the constable, “Kuruvi”. The constable instead of letting him go, came near, patted him slowly on his back, and said, “Thambi, it’s Kaakka (crow) today, better pay the fine and leave” . I was thinking, if they use all this intelligence against the criminals, Tamil Nadu would have been the most safest place to live :)  (relatively it is safe, but just saying) (this was also posted in fb, few years back)

Enaku 30, unaku 20 :

Ok, the last incident occurred at Chromepet while we were getting back for our breakfast at Ganesh Mess. My friend Kumar was caught by the police for over speeding in that MIT bridge, and he was threatened as usual with a charge sheet, fine = Rs. 500. It wasnt the first time for us, and so we knew what to do, he went near the constable and told him that we had only 50 rupees in our hand (no change). The constable got it and permitted us to leave by handing over the bike key. While driving back to the hotel for breakfast, we found that we were running short of another 20 rupees. After thinking for a while, we decided on something, we drove back to that same police, “Sir, that money which you got was all that we had for breakfast, it’s ok, you can keep 25 with you and please give us our 25”.  He replied back, “thambi, here keep this 30 rupees with you, have your breakfast and i’ll take that 20” . Remember the fine amount 500 rupees ? but still I like that last bit of humanity left in him !marudhamalai_2

Nobody is happy about bribing, and Yea, I know bribing is against the law and an unethical act, but this has been like this for a long time. Probably, an ‘Indian thaatha’ should come to save us all !  For students like me, who were totally unaware of the knack, when caught for all these reasons get totally lost. Out of that fear and to save our precious time that trickles down by arguing, we finally give out that hard earned money and leave that filthy place as soon as possible. I can tell you a reputed fact, in other places they bribe in order to stop them from doing their duty but only here we pay them to do their duty. Shame on us..

Saturday, May 4, 2013


    Mandatory disclaimer: As you all know that I am new to this photography field, whatever I have posted here is purely my perspective and this post contains all that I learnt from my Guru in the due course of time. Not to mention the amount of time, effort and energy he spent on training me, no I'm not flattering, this is the truth !! His training and my interest really went hand in hand, and that helped me to quickly grasp the basics :)  

    So previously, whenever I see someone's album, I usually have this set of questions running in my mind.  “Which camera did ya use to take this picture ?”,  “How costly is this Camera ?” or “How many MEGAPIXEL camera was used ?” ;)  I’ll tell you something, if the picture has come out well then it is not because of the costly camera , or the xy mega pixels it supports, it is because of the photographer and the choice of his lens (btw IMO all DSLRs are costly :D). It was only after putting myself behind the view finder, I understood that what I see through it is completely different from what others can see through it. Every photographer sees an entirely different shot. They call it perspective, but we wont be discussing about the technicalities here. This post is all about myth bursting !

    The first ever lesson was to understand this question "why a DSLR first ?" (i never knew the expansion for a DSLR at that time, I secretly wiki'd it while having that conversation - #ConfessionMaterial)  the answer was, I wanted to take better pictures and my point & shoot did not support various things like AF, bigger aperture blah blah.. Nope, its better to exploit the point and shoot that you have at hand, exploit it to the maximum, try all the shots that u wanted to take if you had a DSLR at hand, sit down with somebody and find out what is wrong with this picture. If you are not able to point out the problem with a certain picture, then probably you need to spend more time with it. DSLR's are modular cameras with a bigger Sensor. (Sensor here refers to the 35mm film's replacement that we have in our latest digital cameras). If you want to go for it, then you must be ready to carry your kit which is going to contain various set of lens', flashes, tripod(optional) etc., all through out the trip. Most of them go for a DSLR with a kit lens, and they decide to stay back with it. If that was your plan, there are different set of cameras you can prefer (Canon's powershot G15, FujiFilm x10 etc.,) rather than putting your hard earned cash on a "modular camera" that is going to stay with that same kit lens !

    I was thinking that only Framing / Composing the shot, working on the right exposure = Aperture settings + Shutter speed + ISO etc., are all the things that are considered while "making" a photograph, but I was wrong. When you see a shot, you must be pretty much aware of the post-production work involved in it ! It's a tedious task, and when I mention post-production work, kindly don't think about the filters stuff in photoshop NO ! I was talking about the Lightroom editing that is almost compulsory, it might even take 10-15 minutes for working on a single picture. Just imagine the amount of time you need to invest if you have 100s of pictures at hand !! Info : Try taking those pictures in RAW mode, the size would be big and so is the data contained in it. You can almost pull the rabbit out of the hat every time if you take in RAW (.NEF) 

    Coming to the main bet, it is not the number of mega pixels that determines the quality of your picture. If someone tells you that, then take a look at this !!  The point & shoot I have supports 14 Megs and the DSLR i have supports 12 Megs, it doesnt matter at all. The 32 inch monitor i have at office supports a resolution of 2560x1920 which is 5 Megs, are you going to view / print on something more bigger than that ? .. And more over, the clarity of the picture is because of the sensor size, the point and shoot has a very small senor when compared to that of DSLRs (just imagine the size of the sensors in your brand new smartphones which brags 8Megs Camera :P). Info : So here on just dont look at the number of megs your camera supports, if you use your point n shoot to take pictures at higher megs, it is going to increase the amount of noise since the sensor size is way too small for it to handle. 

    Finally, the blurry background portraits (BOKEH) that you see are not photoshop Gaussian blurs, they come from the prime lens' which comes with the bigger aperture. (I can hear you muttering, but just this : aperture is the opening present in the lens that allows the light to enter our sensor, bigger the aperture => more light comes in => shallow s the depth of field => i.e., subject is isolated more and so the background blur. Prime lens' are single focal length lens', which means zooming is not possible at all, you need to move all the time !! done  :) )

Friday, March 1, 2013

The Tree

Day in and out there are so many things shared in social media, some are really worth a read and some are totally rubbish. Things that are rubbish for you might be a ROFL pic for someone and things that are so sentimental to you might be totally rubbish to someone else. So it depends on the individual to choose things, and comment. No no.. this post is not going to be like this, it involves three tree parables or stories that I came across in the last few weeks whic enlightened me ;) I thought it would be great if i share it with you. First things first,  thanks to Jai Praveen & Trini for their tremendous help.

Life is full of problems and the best part is, even if you don't have any, you are most tempted to create one for the time being. The human brain has been doing this so long, and it continues to work in the same pattern. It was interesting when I first came across "System Idle Process", and the irony is, the human brain is also functioning in a similar fashion. It goes in search of one trouble as soon as the problem-queue is empty. There used to be a story about a traveling peasant illustrating this fact. While traveling from a village to another, he becomes very tired and decides to take some rest beneath a tree. While taking rest, he was initially worried about the remaining distance to cover for the day. He was famished for food and sleep, and so he was dreaming, "what if I get some good food at this place ?", by the time he was thinking about it, the food appeared right in front of him. He looked around but he was not able to spot a single soul anywhere. And since he was prepared for the treat, Oh Sorry.. Since he was so hungry, he completed that food within minutes. As he finished his lunch, his mind started to think "what if we had a cot beneath this tree so that i can take some rest before i make the next move". Again, as soon as he thought of it, that cot appeared right in front of him. This time he was obviously bemused by that cot's materialization out of nowhere. He then slowly sat on the cot just to check if it was real, and yea it was real as well. After lying on that cot, he started thinking how are these things appearing, what is behind all this magic. By that time, his idle mind finds a new trouble, he thought "what if i think of a tiger, that comes out of the forest similar to this cot which might attack me for real !?!" and yea, the tiger appeared right there, and tore him apart. That's how our mind functions, actually this story is about the "tree" they used to call it karpaga viruksham, it gives you whatever you ask for, and the underlying truth is, the tree is within you. Whatever you think forth has the power, each thought that you manifest has the frequency to materialize. So we are advised to think with positive vibes.

While talking about this tree, i remember one other saying that also involves a tree, related to handling problems in life. If there is a poisoned tree in your garden, and there are three ways of approaching it. The first method is the default method, cut and uproot that tree because that is potentially dangerous. That uprooting or clearing it away is termed as the precautionary step taken by an ordinary person. The second approach involves some kind of compassion, they say let us not clear this poor tree, but since others may not know about this poisoned tree, we can put a fence around it. So that we can protect the tree and the trespassers. The third method is totally different from the other two, the reaction looking at such a tree is like this : "Wow a poisoned tree, Perfect ! Just what I was looking for, now what medicines can I bring out from its poison". These are the three different approaches they say, running away from the problems, ignoring them at some point and the last one is taking the positives out of them. The last one involves a lot of understanding, if he/she is so caught up in their own point of view then they will lose sight of a larger and wiser perspective. So that answers the main question of "how have we met disappointments in our life ? with what perspectives have we faced them ?" 

We have been given so many opportunities to understand & learn from those difficulties, it's like the divine trying to communicate something to you through them. But then we have been constantly ignoring or failing to get what has been conveyed to us. Now take a look at the last tree story related to this, "A man had a fig tree, planted in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it, but did not find any. So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, ‘For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?’ “‘Sir,’ the man replied, ‘leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it. If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.’”. (Luke 13:6) This passage talks about the resources spent for a certain fig tree which was expected to bear a fruit, but that has consistently failed to give what it was supposed to give. And so the owner decides to chop it off as it was wasting his valuable resources. But then the keeper, who was taking care of the tree intercedes and gets what’s called the "grace period" for the fig tree. A parable can be interpreted in various methods, but the point to note here is, the keeper was with the tree during those barren period, he is with the tree for this intercession period and he will be with the tree during that fore-coming grace period, he has never lost his hold / hope on that barren tree. Guess I have made my point.. Have a great month ahead !!

Sunday, February 17, 2013


          To get a seat in that prestigious institution was indeed a dream come true event in our lives. Freshers were put in a room that could accommodate only a bunker bed but an additional cupboard, 2 tables and a couple of chairs were squeezed in. The windows were never to be opened, because you might be pulled in for ragging any time by the seniors passing by. The hostels were separated and the mess timings were different for us. All these actions were the so called preventive measures to save us from ragging.
         Our college opened on 17th of August - 2005 and the department lists were announced. As soon as we received our register numbers we were supposed to meet our T-Seniors without getting caught. T-stands for Technocrat, the series is what they mean but actually the relationship is far more than that ! The punishments were so severe that could cost a seniors life was the senti dialogue those days. This post features all that happened in the pursuit of finding ones real T-Senior. You might wonder, whats the big deal about it ? But, no .. They wouldn't reveal the real person that easily. To find most of our lady T-seniors it only costs a cadburys dairy milk (provided that she doesn’t have her boyfriend in the same class) but to find a guy and that too if he is a hosteller then you’re so dead..  !!
        After a couple of weeks, I went to visit some of my native friends at Santhome church and it was when a couple of my school seniors made a visit to our room unofficially. Till that day, we had thought that it was they who would save us from all this ragging woes, but we were totally wrong. They were the ones who took us into the den, "the birla hostel", the place were the second year seniors who suffered ragging recently lived, in other words the ones who were waiting to experiment things on us. And so, except me all my friends were taken in for the first time. So many thoughts were running in their minds along with some odd newspaper articles related to ragging. When all these things were happening, the first senior whose face had a 99% resemblance with the gulfi ice vendor, called one of my friends and asked him, "have you ever seen Discovery channel ?" , my friend was puzzled but then he replied "yes senior, a couple of times".. The senior guy then said in a commanding tone, "oh then, please hunt the Lion roaming around".. He was like what ? Lion !! WTF !! While he was wondering where to find one, the senior raised his voice once again.. "oh so you don’t see a Lion around is it ? You are supposed to do a mono act, you are the hunter and you are the lion, now do it.." When he was trying to jump over the rock and shoot the lion, the other friend was asked to dance (belly dance) for a romantic song imitating the same steps as in that song. This was the Welcome to *** banner for us.
       As days passed by, the number of victims exponentially increased and our roll number info was comfortably passed on to the seniors. Based on the 200538XX I was taken by my T-Senior's close associates for a formal introduction. Whatever happens, remember they never tell you who is who while ragging us (unity in diversity). I was taken in while returning from our Workshop classes in a Khaaki uniform looking exactly like a KTC conductor. One good thing while being caught was that none of my friends were around :P. I went in with a face of a stray dog standing in front of a tea shop expecting some one to throw the half bitten biscuit. As soon as I entered, I was made to sit down in a corner of the room just like how the accused were made to sit in a police station. First they pretended as if they didn’t notice me at all, but after some time they came to me. First it started with narrating a story with *certain set of words inserted*, then they asked me to write a poem *similar rules as 1*, and then the stout one asked, have you ever proposed to a girl, ( whatever the question it may be, my default answer was NO ! ) I moved my head from left to right. His reactions told me that I gave out the wrong answer, and he asked me to propose my love. I was like ( Avana nee ?!) and looking at me standing still, he showed me the tubelight above and said, there's your girl now, PROPOSE !!! While I was pretending to stammer, a senior who was lean, skinny and tall came to the rescue. He took me out, and asked me to take a ticket to the beach station. For me, it didn’t matter at all, spending 10 bucks is far better than being in that seniors hostel for that whole day.
      As the train moved, he kept explaining stuffs like how this Senior Junior relationships work here and about the heritage that we have been following so far etc. It was an inspiring speech and I was almost out of that ragging fear that was induced an hour back. When the train reached Saidapet, bunch of seniors got in and the timing was very bad for me (as usual). I couldn’t help but laugh at one of the seniors' hairstyle (they call it koluppu) and that’s it. He shoveled me out of the train, and he asked me to shout "America Vanthuruchu…." (trans : We've landed in America) (Note: T.nagar-> is the most crowded railway station in Chennai) and I was supposed to shout like this. He said if I don’t do it now, I’ll have to do it in every station till we reach the Beach. That was the first time I thought, (Single ah sikkitomae) wish my friends were here for the chorus part !! Granny's proverb came up to my mind : poonai vaala vitutu puli vaala pidichitomae (lost hold of the cats tail and by mistake I've caught the tigers tail instead).. Yea, yea I did that heroic task as well..
      Even after so many months it did not come to an end, once we were roaming behind the college for getting some fruit juice. As i said before, "the timing was always perfect".. That terror group saw me and my friends, and they called one of my friends to that tea shop near by. One good thing about them is, whichever ragging method they implement, they'll make sure that the public is totally unaware of what is happening, they treat us that friendly ! While the main guy was buying a tea for my friend, the other senior was looking at the heroines poster just like a goat looking at it. He quickly noticed that we passed a comment on him, and so he called us immediately. We knew this was coming anyways, he asked us to pinch that heroine's hip on that poster ! We told him repeatedly that our comment was not about him, but it did not help. Finally, my friend pinched the photo and the whole tea shop was like *WTF* is wrong with you guys :D
      Once the next set of juniors joined our college, we were treated properly. In the name of birthday bumps, we got the opportunity to do what we had to do to our seniors (cricket bats, tree branches and even hockey bats were used). The same set of people who ragged us were the ones who supported us in various ways. It was then we learnt the positive side of ragging, and the art of getting close to those unknown faces. That lean senior turned out to be my Linux guru and of course the man who taught me "Age of empires 2". The stout senior was the one who trained us for "organizing" functions and this list goes on and on !! Only when we reached our final year of study we realized that our ragging fun was a training to face something even more terrible. Yep,  in the name of project reviews, we faced a lot. We felt that jumping out of the train and shouting, pinching the hip of the posters, shooting a lion were a lot better than those God abandoned review meetings !