Posted in Extras

Art never stops from evolving

From the limited art I am exposed to, I guess art never stops evolving.

In Dan Brown’s ‘Origin’ precisely we come across museums of such an unimaginable plane.

After viewing art in 3D, 4D etc., here in Doha at international art exhibitions, I think I can come to accept that art keeps evolving the way we may like it or not. Most Indians I have met do have an issue with this idea. Art to them has to be at a standstill. Necessarily two dimensional. They aren’t even willing to explore further possibilities, anything out of the canvas. This is their comfort zone. (Like they have fixed ideas about everything including our caste system. Just cannot grow out of it. So that’s why we stagnate).

I owe my little and negligible interest in art to my hubby who is an amateur artist. He mostly only sketches, or does water colours (his best) or acrylic. Through him I got exposed to mixed media art and art of different forms. Finger art, Calligraphy, Collage, Charcoal just to name a few. I never knew calligraphy could be so beautiful! Although I cannot understand the arabic in this form of art (we get to see only arabic calligraphy here), I seem to somehow transcend the distance and peek into the artist’s mind. Mostly from war torn nations of the world, the works would appear a silent scream to me. Especially calligraphy. Without deciphering a single word I could hear the plea or desperation. Such is the power of art. I think the alphabets of the arabic language are also well suited and naturally inclined/adaptable for this form of art. From questioning the purpose of the art I started appreciating art with time.

The MF Hussein one was a good one. Contrary to what was alleged by Indian media, in spite of the Hindu God depiction or representation in whatever way, I could only appreciate the genius unquestioningly, never doubting the artist’s intentions. Apparently this man adored Hindu Goddesses, no other way I could see it. His reverence is what led to the art. We saw whatever remained after destruction of the rest in India. I think this is a priceless lifetime experience of mine which cannot ever be had in India.

In one art exhibition, only the sound of a fountain was the art. You have to have a very keen ear. You have to pick up the rhythm. How the fountain is designed to generate a specific kind of musical (not really musical although it did seem to have a beat of sort) pitter patter is what is perceived to be art. In the journey to the fountain, the water races through some exposed plumbing works which all define the final output. Please do not compare this with the Dubai Mall fountain even if I have to agree, even that synchronization is sort of art with its mechanical effects.

Coming to terms with this kind of totally different dimension of art with sound etc., first was baffling to my simple mind. Breaking the jinx about the 2D art that we normally suppose art to be was not easy. Once we are free of these trappings, I guess we can enjoy any art better.

My hubby was also as a scrap artist and kolam artist (!) in his univ days so I have heard about this kind of art a 1000 times. The best scrap art exhibit is here executed by an Indian artist Prabodh Gupta.

Photography exhibition: This is good as well but I savour conventional art over photo expos.

Everything practically counts as art. Music, or for that matter any sound as I just said, anything arranged with an idea is art.

I am truly missing art from my life now. Otherwise here in Doha almost every week we go to art exhibitions and galleries that are open for free to the public. First i was not that much into art. But now i very much look forward to it. I view art as kind of meditation!

We spent hours in Paris, Florence and Rome looking at art. Staggering old world art. Exploring museums after museums. Fascinating insight into the medieval world. Unbelievable. Almost as if you are on time-machine transported to another world! I wished I learnt my world history proper!

I do like the contemporary one as well for the difference it makes to traditional art as we may come to view in museums. Cherish the Picasso moments here in Doha. The master is believed to be behind the modern art scene and he had his share of critics. At least thrice we were there to have our fill of artistic satisfaction. God’s gift so far as I see it. We won’t be getting another chance like this because, to view this batch of work, you will have to shell out hefty fee in any other part of the world.

I do like the contemporary artists as well. Encouraging them is important Have met dozens of nationalities that way who exhibit outstanding works. Some were already fetching great prices. The younger artists have a completely different perception of ideas and objects. They are not like the old masters. Refreshingly new thought process.

One art exhibition that we visited was that of paint spray work on corrugated sheets in steel (abstract art). Some were folded, some straight, some arranged in patterns like pleats… This meant welding and heat treatment to the artist’s perceptions. Mere transporting the bulky frames in pick-ups was a big headache for the artist who probably invented this kind of art! He was a regular professional who slowly came to discover this art form on his own, trying out his hand over a range of media. He perfected this one even if it was way too expensive and cumbersome and space consuming. Setting up the gallery can be a daunting task. Each piece weighed like a ton and was of huge dimensions! But what a work the artist created. What a mindset. What a creativity. That kind of illusions have to be seen to be believed. I understood, the spray had to be done at controlled temperature etc. Nothing was effortless. The artist was doing great because his art neatly fit into boutique hotels, office lounges etc. We were talking to the artist and he said, he struggled for two decades to convince anyone that this was art indeed. The same galleries that shunned him were now inviting him and clients were buying him out for whatever he quoted.

So why be shy of inventing your own art. What you make is art. Or whatever you make constitutes art.

Because of viewing art in different formats, I am now able to accept music in different genres as well. Music in English language has been an aversion for years now. In teens perhaps enjoyed a little. India is a place full of music. There is a lot to listen to. My first choice is always devotional for morning hours. Then classical Carnatic. After watching ‘The Disciple’ I feel guilty expecting the carnatic vocalists to do the bhakthi ghaana! Never thought about it in this angle. Of course there is always the filmy stuff for light music to ease stress.

More music is emerging. Initially I was not sure about the Carnatic renditions of Ashoka’s edicts or Tamil Kritis of contemporary times. I tell myself now, when I can come to accept art multi-dimensional, why cannot I view music in the same light. Art has not been reduced by the different dimensions it is growing by. Change is inevitable. Fresh blood has to be infused at some point or the regular fare will start sounding stale will time. The classical component will not lose it sheen with the introduction of some new aspects. I think the carnatic can absorb everything and grow from here. This mindset is possible for me because of my exposure to evolving art. I don’t think my fellow Indian citizens can ever think like me. I am not an expert by any means either in art or music. Just a thought…

If Thyagaraja and Dikshikthar were first generation, then Papanasam Sivan and Bharathi come in the next. Who is going to represent the present age in Carnatic world. I’ve thought about it. There is definitely a void. Anything or anyone from after 1970s. We in India always talk about our pazham perumai. Indhiyaavin pazham perumai. Like our ancient temples. Brahadeshwar is over 1000 years old, Kailasa from millennia before, dear Hindus, what do you have to show for this age. What landmark. What fresh creation. (Talking too muchaaah? 😀 Innum konjam vishayam therinja enna pudikkave mudiyadhu!)

Who is a rebel. Anyone with ideas going against the grain of fundamental framework may be labelled one, is it not. What happened to Galileo when he said earth revolved around the sun. Sometimes the time lapse for realization can be pretty long but will eventually serve its purpose. The audience have to mature psychologically, emotionally. Must have an open mind to accept fresh ideas and be sportive to receive and process conflicting theories. In any case, if an art form or music is to be viewed critically, it means a runaway success in my dictionary atleast 😀

As for art, nothing must go free either. Once my hubby was approached by a Brit to do a manual of sketches. He happily agreed because it was like his first (and probably only) professional assignment. He never expected a check but he was paid well for his work. When he refused, his client said that art must never go free and that even if amateur, my husband should charge something so that others would come to know that even that little art they cannot produce on their own. That it needed to be bought over for a price for consumption. After this encounter, we both are pretty convinced that charging for art is reasonable and justified. For professionals this is livelihood.

Art also gives you a great insight into the artist’s mind as I have seen. In middle-east, the visual art form is the only art encouraged. As performing art is not viewed favourably, the total focus is on visual art. This may be the reason I always find art from this region to be the best over our Indian. Some frames I have seen have been from wall to wall. Floor to floor. Staggering array of emotions packed into art. Whatever is repressed finds an expression into art… like way of screams, challenges, bold stances, supplication, surrender etc. Could such an art also serve to be a page from the book of world history? I hope so. Perhaps unwritten, undocumented sadly.

I have viewed some Indian works but mostly find them trivial as far as content is concerned (!) Necessity is the mother of invention, and perhaps this is the reason our local artists may not be that very explorative. When freedom of expression is restricted, then it finds a way in some in solid art forms. However my hubby refutes my statement and says, I haven’t seen much of Indian art and I am talking about something that I have no knowledge about, which is also true.

Inventiveness is the formula to succeed. We fail to invent, we stop with our growth. That much I know! No need to look for acceptance anywhere which will come with time. Audience keep changing. Art is constant. Oh, Art is evolving all the time! What may not be palatable to one gen can turn out to be a feast to the next.

The society or art that cannot unlearn and relearn stops growing. All said, I am a mere connoisseur of art and music! Grateful as a layman, for even this little exposure into this beautiful world that brings so much of peace and happiness to humanity. With even a little more art or music knowledge, I would be having a better perspective of both. Would like to underscore the importance of imparting art and music lessons to kids at an younger age so that they can live life to fullest.

Science for Art’s sake always, not vice versa.

Let’s enjoy anything and everything. Nothing is taboo. No holds barred.

Posted in Extras

A Very Happy, Healthy & Prosperous 2021!

Sounds cliched? But this is the most sincere heartfelt wish of all of us as we leave the wretched 2020 behind, is it not. Personally for me 2020 is a mixed bag. Life is giving me double promotion in 2020-21 that I hardly dreamt of. Mother Goddess knows the perfect timing. Who am I to decide on anything. And what a universal truth this is. 2020 was a time for reckoning for us humanity. To pause, take stock and rework our ways, hurting less nature & ecology – wildlife and forests and mountains and oceans and skies. A time to realize, we need not have to be materialistic always and lose sight of all that is truly intrinsically beautiful and omnipresent around us. Our parents and grandparents were no fools to put family first. I am seeing a lot of people tamed, humbled by 2020 that wouldn’t have been possible otherwise. Life overwhelms me as well. Priorities get rejigged, outlook changes and age mellows one and all. Those of us who have witnessed 2020 in our lifetimes will sense a definite impact throughout our lives and one day we will be narrating this story to our grand children and great grandchildren. Like the tsunami, pandemics are prone only once a century as we now learn. Hopefully and mercifully!

Looking forward to a fun-filled 2021 when we can recompense for the loss of 2020, with family and friends with much more merrymaking and living life to the fullest!

Posted in Extras

Please someone send me hot hot samosas, bhajis, filter coffee & masala chai NOW!

(at this moment greatest relief is that, idli batter is fully stocked in fridge, and all podis such as paruppu podi, karuveppilai podi and all thokkus such as tomato thokku are ready with vathal/appalam in tins. Rice & atta in good reserve, all dals there. Coffee, tea there. Channa etc., there. Broken coconuts half a dozen in freezer. Dry red chili, tamarind there. Even if lockdown is announced right now, can survive without milk for a month hahaha!)

After many years, Chennai is blessed bountifully with both the South West Monsoons (July-Sep) and North East Monsoons (Oct-Dec), because we are having this continuous wet spell right from August first week. There has not been a day when it has not rained since, that it reminds me of typical ‘kaar kaalam’ we used to have in our childhood when Monsoons did not necessarily mean cyclonic storms. Months of monsoons is happening now only once in a couple of years of more, never every year as it used to once upon a time…

Monsoons meant hot spicy bajjis and bondas and rounds and rounds of filter coffee and masala chai. From granny’s kitchen, that came steaming right from the stove nonstop. However, now to realize that you are expected to supply all this to your family in the rains is tooooooo muchhhhhhhh….! Never be born a woman!

I am tired, bored! Please just courier me hot plates of samosas with pudina chutney, onion bhajjis with sambhar and coconut chutney, strong hot & steaming filter coffee and also masala chai that i will finish my evening tiffin with!

Even Swiggy & Dunzo not working !!!

Braving your MIL and telling her in face that only Paruppu Podi saadham on menu today is not easy! Managed that! Still had to fry the papads and roast Seppam kizhangu! Also make dosa and coconut chutney! Absolutely didn’t feel like getting up from my bed this morning when it was pouring cats and dogs … but thinking of the souls waiting hungrily for your food got me reluctantly out of my comfy bed… puja is there then… Just finished the lunch assignment!

Before being summoned for next round in kitchen, let me take a break! Already working out in mind, what to do for dinner and for tomorrow’s breakfast and lunch!!! Thankfully, oily bhajji ruled out by family otherwise I must be now deepfrying Vaazhaikkai bhajji in this rain!!! Tv also taken over by MIL and the kids!

Btw, love the monsoons! 60 hours of nonstop rains is in very distant memory now. Last had it may be in 2015 when I was in Doha, so I completely missed it.

For Varada cyclone, i was returning via Dubai. In Dubai my flight got suspended and I had to spend over 12 hours at DxB but the airport is very good there. I was offered hotel accommodation but I wanted to reach Chennai fastest. Opted to stay in the airport. Slept sitting in waiting lounge. Restrooms were fine and unlimited supply of snacks provided, so I was saved. I comfortably chose a spot near the charging point.

Reached Chennai around midnight then. Neither me nor my hubby could reach anyone via phone in Chennai. Four days earlier, I called my regular cab fellow and told him about my arrival that was to have been the previous day. I walked out of the airport and couldn’t spot a taxi. Landlines alone were functioning but a long queue. My house was locked and I didn’t know where to go in the midnight. Unsure, I trolleyed my baggage to outside airport. Lo and behold, my regular cabbie waved to me, looking tired and spent! He told me, he was checking every flight they allowed after Varada after I called. I was not taking a straight flight. I flew in via DxB but I was alert enough to put in a word to him. His phone was down, he could not talk to my folks, he could not talk to my hubby or me, but he parked near Nanganallur and returned to airport for every flight landing in Meenambakkam. That is how he spotted me. His thorough professionalism and also humanity really amazes me even now.

Four days earlier I had also alerted my MIL, after which I could not reach my people via phone. She had taken cue and had arrived a day early in the storm keeping the gate open for me. She was there to open my door when I rang the bed in unearthly hours. There was no way I could call her in advance. Quite an adventure!

All the way I could spot the havoc wrecked by Varada just the previous day. Every standing tree in Chennai was down. Many roads blocked. My cabbie cleverly maneuvered his car avoiding flooded streets and those blocked with fallen trees.

I missed the 2015 flooding of Chennai but I did get to see the immediate after-effects of cyclone Varada in 2017. That was also to be the last time I flew in and out via Dubai. Soon UAE closed their doors to Qatar residents. Earlier I used to routinely switch flights in Dubai or Sharjah or Bahrain because their airlines were cheap and best. Now switching flights only in Colombo or opting for straight flight, whatever the ticket price. Hopefully with Biden, the situation in Middle East also gets resolved. Unnecessary travel hassles to third party NRIs. I miss switching flights in DxB. Facilitywise it is best. In very few airports you can last 12 to 18 hours nibbling on burgers and chips. I had my laptop, phone charger, cell phone, and the knowledge that their restrooms are clean gave me peace. We women have to factor in a lot of things. Doha airport is one level up now. We have the best, best in the league. I miss being there. How I wish my country can ensure this level of comfort to all air passengers.

Btw, i could have postponed my air travel, but the concerned airlines that I do not want to name, gave me false assurance that flights operated normally in Chennai then. They were eager to dump passengers and avoid cancellations, as I realized later. I wanted to rebook but they said onward flights were on. They weren’t bothered that I would be stranded in DxB for more than 12 hours in midnight. My fellow passengers shared a similar fate.

Flying in this weather… omg… Imagine being stranded in Colombo or Meenambakkam or even any of our local airports!!! Finished!

What I hate about men: Even in Doha or wherever, whenever we return from somewhere including shopping or walking or a tour, always trust your hubby to fix him his chai or coffee first!!! Just hate men for their insensitivity! And there they curl up to go back to sleep whereas you load the washing machine and start the next round of cooking because, after all you’ve been eating restaurant food for days when you were on holiday! And being a woman, you just can’t go to sleep without a care in the world as men do! I can’t! Unless I guess some semblance is restored in the house and the suitcases are unpacked I can’t sleep in peace just like that!

Posted in Extras

Men And This Green Eyed Monster!

I wrote this piece originally on June 16, 2014. Reproducing without much edits. Lots could have changed since then. All said, male jealousy is cute! Luving it!


Men and this Green-eyed Monster Ugh!

June 16, 2014

On a lighter vein, I want to blog about the typical Indian husband who feels utterly jealous about every man who enters his wife’s sphere of imagination in some way or other.  The object of our fancy could be anything ranging from movie stars to sports person. Good looking guys who seem fit in middle-age with no pot-bellies or receding hairline are No.1 sworn enemies. Our men just can’t stand the most successful crop of their generation even if it could be the very Barrack Obama!  Male envy is horrible tangential truth!

My husband calls me in day time everyday if we are in 2 different parts of the world.  I was seriously watching ‘Chennai Express’ in tv the day before I left for Doha, enjoying the song ‘Kashmir tu, main Kanyakumari!’  Annoyed that I was disturbed midway through, I asked him to call back after 2 hours when the picture would be over because I was savouring every single minute of SRK in dhoti in Tamil turf – a veritable feast to my eyes.

Irritated my hubby shot back, ‘you will never reform. so why don’t you elope with SRK!’ and I replied ‘wish I could!  if only Gauri permits!’  21 years now into marriage and here we are back at square one .

 TOM & JERRY! (Never mind I have grown out of the SRK phase by now, hubby is still stuck in the 90s).

Arvind Swamy, the ever-green anti-hero: Reminds me when in the year 2002 or so, we stopped at an ATM to withdraw.  Hubby was at the wheel and i went into the kiosk alone.  In the next machine stood the macho Arvind Swamy, the local hero, and hero of films like ‘Roja’ and ‘Bombay’ – also dubbed into Hindi.  It was sure nothing to Mr. Swamy but it was all butterflies in the stomach for me.  I stammered for speech, had nothing to get his autograph in, in fact i did not even smile.  But the actor gave me a big smile and waved ‘hi’ – and i responded belatedly nodding my head.  We stood for a minute staring at each other, myself still not coming to senses having seen my dream hero of early 1990s in such a close -up.  He was starting to age, in his early 30s just like me, (same age as me or perhaps a year or 2 older I think).  He had gained weight slightly, looked more mature, his cheeks were flushed and he looked even more handsome in person than in celluloid screen.

In 2002 I guess all of us were a lot younger, and me still naive somewhat!  There was still this school-girlish side of mine that emerged out every now and then!  And more over I never ever met with a celebrity in real life – and Arvind Swamy is actually the one and only star or Page 3 guy I have seen anywhere from close quarters (up until now this is true).  Naturally I remember the ATM thing to this day – whereas for Swamy – i think he will be shocked into coma if he comes to know that a 40+ woman who is his fan since her college days is still besotted with him LOL this way!

Getting back to the car all through the drive I kept rambling about the handsome movie star with whom I shared under 1 minute private space in an ATM kiosk.  Hubby and son got irritated.  Hubby said a guy who sang songs and danced around the trees with women could never be man enough.  I ridiculed that and argued Swamy was an industrialist in the city, doing extremely well, and acting was his passion. I was awed totally that day and called my friends and relatives to share the exciting news with them!  All the while my hubby kept reminding me, my hero would have forgotten my plain jane face the moment he stepped out of the ATM, I was one drop in a billion who never mattered to him, how his list of girl friends could be a very long and impressive one, and all that blah blah- while here I was fawning all about Arvind as if I was a teenager.  My H did ask me before we married which actor I liked most and I remember telling him ‘Arvind Swamy’ who was at the peak of his acting career then. Ever since Swamy became like his arch rival.

Not that I am celebrity-crazy either.  I guess this was a one-off incident for me, because one of my fondest memories is that of going to ‘Roja’ (original Tamil version) in the cinemas with my school girls – right on Jan 18, 1993, a few months before my marriage.  It was like a girl-equivalent of bachelor’s party – on a friend’s wedding day.  I did not even know that my hubby existed then just a few km away from my home – who I met in March and married by June (arranged match).  We girls – some 20 of us, brought down the roof of the cinemas every time Arvind came on the screen with our whistles and hoots hahaha! That was also ARR’s first muscial score in Tamil cinema – the picture was dubbed into Hindi as well by director Mani Rathnam.  So Arvind was like our dream hero.

During our brief engagement period, my would be-hubby wanted to take me to pictures.  ‘Which one?’ he asked and I opted for a Tamil remake of ‘Arth’ in which again the hero was Arvind Swamy. ‘But it is a divorce theme!’ You seriously like this fellow Arvind Swamy?!’ asked my fiance’ in an incredulous tone.  Until now he keeps rambling to my son how stupid and arrogant I was that I took him to a divorce-subject picture, our very first one together, only because I was smitten with this Swamy guy!

Sometime back hubby mailed me a picture of my one-time heart throb – the same Arvind Swamy in his latest avatar:  bald, obese and looking visibly tired and aged. ‘Your handsome hero looks like slob’ was the comment. ‘You know he is also divorced?! single and lonely, want to try?’

So I am resigned to this fate now: never will my H forgive or forget Arvind and I have to live with that the rest of my life.

Son does not lag behind his father in this matter.  I made the mistake of telling my son how I was crazy crazy about George Michael when I was in class 11 & 12 (1984-86). For his share, son supplied the news from internet how George Michael is totally a failure case presently, arrested for possession of drugs and is a complete junk.  He made sure I saw the picture of my teenage poster boy in present times – and shared the info with his father online.  Father & son cheered how one by one, all the men I adored in life were fast falling from the high pedestals where I held them.”She likes this kinda men’ was hubby’s comment  (in fact this has become something like his rhetoric in last few years).

Hubby can’t stand SRK either because I also made another terrible mistake of telling him when we were newly married that I was crazy about Shahrukh Khan right from my school days when the hindi serial ‘Fauji’ was first telecast.  After we married, the serial ‘Circus’ was on tv and there was SRK again – and I showed him to my husband ‘see this is the guy who i was always searching for!  he was missing in action for years, but he is back now in tv screen, soon he will be a big hero, something tells me!’

Just like I predicted, SRK went on to become No.1 star in bollywood in the following years.  My hubby never forgives him for that hahaha! ‘Still he is a is a bisexual!’ he maintains, telling me how actors paint their faces and wear lipstick and rouge!!! Anything to put me off and wean me away from SRK!

So hubby had to really reel under double-pronged attack of SRK and Arvind Swamy from 1993-96.  In this period the picture ‘Bombay’ was released both in Hindi & Tamil, another of Mani Rathnam’s social movies.  ‘Tu hi re’ is my No.1 favourite song until now although I always love the original Tamil version the best.  Until this day, this one has the effect of stopping me in my tracks:

To make matters worst, AR Rahman scored the music for the picture. Finished. The 3 guys are No.1, 2 and 3 adversaries of my man respectively- for the only reason I love them. All of them are born between 1964-1968, same age as us both (me & H).

Our fight gets too much with A R Rahman, the music composer who is also a local guy.  Rahman’s meteoric rise to fame is well known.  An ardent Ilaya Raja fan, my hubby still maintains he hates Rahman – only because i insist i simply love him! Secretly I am sure, he admires Rahman’s music although would never admit it to me. Other chief reason to hate Rahman: that he attended PSBB! (Son calls him PSBB snob and swears ARR is over-rated – boys from SBOA etc specially have this thing going against PSBB alumni).

Next is my love for cricket players – I used to adore Ravi Shastri in my school days. ‘Not all Ravis are good’ insists hubby adding how Ravi Shastri was a playboy in his heydays.  “Imran Khan and Wasim Akram?”  ‘Imran is too old for you and Akram is type-1 diabetic.  Any woman who cohabits with him and bears his kids will be giving birth to type-1 diabetic kids remember that.  The kids will have to live with insulin injections life long and even the man injects himself day and night’  comes the instant reply – as if I am rooting to marry Akram someday.

My other heroes like Viv Richards, Maradona could be AIDs carriers, who knows! “You don’t know about West Indies, South American guys!’ quips my H. Maradona’s fall from grace is world popular. Really got to give my man an award for villainising my heroes like none else can!

We were talking of Barrack Obama once and I said, ‘see the US president is just a few years older than you!’ and the reply was ‘Obama won with black votes; wait he is already unpopular, won’t get through to second term!’  But Obama did go on to win the second round much to my man’s dismay!

I wonder really what is wrong with Indian men, rather Indian husbands!

I only have to say I like this particular sports person or film star – my hubby gives me enough reasons to believe the hero i adore is mere crap!

I suppose it is okay for our husbands to like filmy heroines and other popular woman personalities.  We wives have to be generous and broadminded when it comes to them drooling over Maria Sharapova or Bipasha Basu’s anatomy. ‘Don’t be that lousy jealous wife!’ we get admonished.

My friend says when she was watching Rafael Nadal in tv, her husband told her that Nadal was unattainable hahaha!

Don’t even ask about Richard Gere and Brad Pitt, my other heroes!  Our guys are rating themselves to Hollywood range now!

Hubby even goes to the extent of claiming John Abraham waxes his chest!

Vishwanathan Anand, the 5 time World Chess Champion and a local hero is another natural anti-hero.  Went to the same Loyola college as Arvind Swamy.  ‘Pampered kids!’ is the comment. Especially the Don Bosco school – Loyola College combi guys are hated fiercest!  Both Anand and Arvind fall in the same category. Back in our college days this was a potent combination in guys.  Hubby and bros are all professionals, academic to the core having attended medical and engineering colleges, so they missed out the city fun in 80s in arts and science colleges like ours. Still they know what it used to mean for girls like us in those days. Funny, I attended college the same time as Anand and Arvind, but never remember them from any Inter-collegiate culturals (most of which that I silently attended (entering essay/dumb charades categories with some similar-minded friends) (i believe the engineering colleges used to take the culturals to an all new level where lit-fests were not the highlight but some tech themes were, like assembling a model for instance). I think V.Anand was already starting to make waves as a Chess Grandmaster. As for Arvind, I recall his ‘Nestle’ Sunrise’ coffee ad until today where he first made his appearance in public during his/our college days.

So the school-college combi is very much a flashpoint in our men’s psyche I guess.  Never mind our son is exactly one such product of modern times – the SBOA-SVCE combination which is in engineering circles today as much pedigree as the DB-Loyola pedigree of our times.  I never thought much about it until a friend’s daughter exclaimed, ‘your son is SBOA-SCVE guy?!’

So guys before you hate the ivy-league men, think of your own sons first.  You want it for your sons, but you cannot digest it when it comes to your wives’ crushes who could be ivy-league guys !!! What a typical male Indian hypocrisy.

Btw, latest about Arvind Swamy:  He is a single parent who’s been raising his kid alone, winning the custody battle. As for Anand, he is a disciplinarian to the core, never in gossip coloums, decent family man.


We girls keep laughing and laughing at the childishness and sense of  insecurity in our men who are nearing 50s now.  (Some friends’ hubbies are already into 50s). What should we do to let them know, how much we have come to love their pot-bellies and salt-and-pepper hair and/or baldness and even the annoying snoring LOL !!! So much so that I keep shocking my MIL by throwing my legs over her in deep sleep when she sometimes sleeps next to me in our bedroom hahaha! So our men are like our well-worn comfy clothes I guess!  Shabby (!) may be hahaha but that we can’t do without either!  The huggable teddy bears!

One of my son’s friend’s mom comes home – a widow, same age as me.  She keeps telling me how much she misses her man, not only emotionally but also physically.  Our men are like our life-habits – like our toothbrush, like our mobiles, like our laptops hahaha. Seriously speaking, SMOKING KILLED 3 OF MY SON’S FRIENDS’ FATHERS IN LAST 1-2 YEARS. The age bracket 45-55 is most vulnerable. 3 of my so-called friends who I happened to regularly meet in school Open Days etc are widows suddenly. The husbands were aged 48, 50 and 52 and died of sudden massive heart attack.  On Fathers’ Day, this is what I want all fathers to think about.  Change your lifestyle, get serious please! Go for Masters check-up every 6 months – which is the best gift you can give your family.

Guys we are not married to John Abrahams or Ambanis – we are married to you, the real, normal men.  We accept you the way you are – and love the way you age – with your eye bags, long sight, police paunch everything:-)  The last thing I would want a middle-aged man to do is to get hair-weaving or a facial done in men’s parlour.  Stay the way you are.  Love the way you are.  And take care of your health. Male Menopause, now is that true?


Back to the topic:

The latest addition to my hubby’s blacklist is Arvind Kejriwal.  “Anyone your mother favours will lose deposit.  See the Kejriwal joker!’ said hubby to my son on Kejriwal rout in recent elections.  My husband’s fierce hatred for Kejriwal is attributed to one main reason: that he went to IIT !!!  (that is my assumption but he denies it strongly!)

Arnab Goswami is another regular villain in our homes. ‘He must be a decade younger to you’ is the daily dosage of enlightenment I get.  ‘He is getting facial done’ is the next standard comment.  “All housewives love him and can’t go to sleep if they don’t see him on tv by 9’0 clock’ is the third punch line.

Last heard father to son: ‘Your mother you see, never likes the straight ones! They all are crooked! She was right only one time – with me!’

Yes guys, Arvind Swamy is divorced, SRK is bisexual, Wasim Akram married a firangi too soon after losing his first wife …. so ? They will still always be our sweethearts, why don’t you grow up!!

Last week when hubby came home from office, I was watching Pak tv every single day – looking at Karachi airport attack news.  I knew what would be coming forth next.

As expected father and son exchanged glances.  ‘Whole world wouldn’t bother but your mother likes them.  Wonder who is her fancy now!’ said the father. ‘She likes losers’ supplied the son helpfully. Both are now trying to figure out which guy I like in Pakistan tv hahaha. I am keeping them guessing.  No soon than father started, ‘so is she now….’ that son finished with eager relish, ‘an ISI agent?!’

Ever since I am laughing nonstop in the privacy of my bedroom 🙂

Posted in Extras

Indian Universities with Global Ranks

Arriving at Global ranking of universities is a complex issue.

Subjects and Faculties and the wide array of Degree and Diplomas offered are the chief determining factors. Universities with all-round disciplines make it to top 100 (overall rating). Subjectwise ranking is a different approach.

IITs and IIMs are creamiest and best from India, under top 200 globally very easily subjectwise. As far as Engineering & Technology is concerned.

Global overall ranking requires multi-disciplines of study in various subjects with a wide scope and range covering extensive areas of specialization and research. IITs do not offer arts, sciences and literature. Humanities have been added to in recent years only. No medical sciences either for which there are full fledged medical universities. No management studies in IITs for which in India we have IIMs and a second tier of management schools like the XLRI, ISB, etc.

Few universities in India have this all round qualification and facilities.  Annamalai University is a rare one that boasts of both Engineering and Medical disciplines in the township in Chidambaram. Annamalai University (ironically founded by P Chidambaram’s grandfather Annamalai Chettiar) is a top ranking Indian university even if standards have slipped miserably these days. It is a rare one of its class in India to boast of heat treatment boilers for Mechanical engineering lab and a full fledged civil engineering workshop.

This is quite like University of Florida housing multi disciplines in the same campus such as medical, engineering, architecture and language schools. While this is norm in the case of public universities in the US, it is not so in India.

A friend’s IITian son analyzed deeply the scope of his masters degree in US. A bachelor’s degree in IITs of India seemed better according to this very bright boy who later joined Stanford. Only the top 10 US universities could match the IIT standards.

IISC (Indian Institute of Science) and Indian Institute of Physics are equally highly rated globally.

Irrespective of their ranking if any, they are acclaimed to be among the best by global standards.

IITs have to be rated under global engineering schools and IIMs for global management schools. Clubbing horses with donkeys and asses in the same league is just not right!

From Google:

IIT Delhi was the highest-ranked IIT internationally, ranking 172nd in the QS World University Rankings of 2018, followed by IIT Bombay (179th), while 3 other IITs (IIT Madras at 264, IIT Kanpur at 293 and IIT Kharagpur at 308) make the top 310.

IIT Bombay and Delhi and IISC Bangalore have a good ranking:

IIT Bombay holds the 152nd spot in global subject ranking.

In yet another ranking system, IIT Bombay is under top 100 ranks. 53rd to be precise. This is rank for Engineering and Technology.

  • IIM Ahmedabad is top 48th among global business management schools. 

Top 10 Engineering & Tech schools in India with global ranks:

No Indian medical school in top few hundreds but believe me, 30% of medicos in America and UK are still we Indians! We may not be having the best medical institutions here in India but we still produce the best physicians in the world! We have top of the line, state of art hospitals and medical equipment. We are also a top medical tourist destination. Sometimes, we can not always go by statistics. Who devises these global ranking systems. What are the exact parameters. Are they reliable. How far are they standardized.

India ranks 5th on Medical Tourism Index globally; 2nd in Asia


In India, Engineering universities/colleges have 3 tiers: All have separate entrances to clear. For instance, IITs have IIT-JEE to clear.

First: IITs, IISC, IIP

Second: NIITs

Third: BITS Pilani, Anna University, Annamalai University, VIT, SRM, Manipal, etc for instance. Private Engineering colleges may be affiliated with State Engineering Universities like Anna University in Tamil Nadu for instance.

Fourth tier: Too many of private engineering colleges mushrooming through out the nation without upkeeping standards.

Management schools also have 3 tiers in India. After bachelor degree in engineering (a majority cases) or commerce or CA, one has to clear CAT to get into one of these.

First: IIMs

Second: XLRI, ISB, BIM, SP Jain

Third: Great Lakes, Symbiosis

Fourth tier: Every other university may have an MBA program though without much of market value. Where you come from matters.

Medical Universities ranking in India: Entry after clearing NEET. Seats could be anywhere through length and breadth of India. A good rank in NEET entrance may procure a candidate medical seat of his/her choice and place.


Tier 2: JIPMER, PGIMER, CMC Vellore

Tier 3: State Medical college hospitals.

Tier 4: Private medical universities (Those who pay for management seat of these private medical universities will never clear NEET for PG as well and will have to pay through their nose to get a PG seat)

Tiers 1 and 2 in India are real good whether it is Engineering or Medicine or Management.

Similarly Schools of architecture and Law schools and School for Journalism etc., privately managed (deemed/autonomous) universities from India too have a good and respectable ranking:

These may include




JJ college of architecture

ICAI and ICWAI take care of aspiring chartered and cost accountants.  ICAI is the second largest professional Accounting & Finance body in the world. 

From Catering & Hotel management to Fashion technology and other skilled and semi-skilled professional education and human resources, India is chartbuster! One of the most sought-after talent pool in the world today.

If Indian Education is not good enough we might not be having Sundar Pichchai today as CEO of Google. Pichchai did his schooling at Jawahar Vidyalaya and Vana Vani, not PSBB popular with IIT hopefuls and one of top 10 Chennai schools. Elitist. Graduated from IIT though. Satya Nadella, the CEO of Microsoft from Andhra Pradesh did not even attend an IIT. Ex Pepsico CEO Indira Nooyi attended an arts & science college in Madras (Chennai) before joining IIM. Citibank has had an Indian CEO. Almost every big global corporate brand has had an Indian CEO or other top level executive in the past. That means, we must be good. Good enough. Irrespective of the fact how we are ranked.

Missile man of India and the ex-President of India Dr Abdul Kalam never attended a foreign university. He was a 100% local product. The first question the Americans asked themselves about him on learning of his acumen and expertise is, “which US university did he go to?’ They were in for shock that Kalam was an agmark desi engineering & science graduate whose interest lay in space tech. Similarly the ISRO chairman of the present Dr K Sivan, who attended a Tamil school that he walked to bare-footed without slippers, helping his farmer father in the agricultural field to earn a few extra rupees, is a desi product. He turned down NASA offer to continue to work for India.

Other Indian global standings that may not have anything to do with university rankings:

India is a world’s leading software exporter and IT hub. India also belongs in the elite Space club having a successful Mars Mission and two Lunar missions as feathers in ISRO’s caps. India launched a record 104 satellites at one go in a world record. What rank from which university here.

How many of top 100-200 ranked universities outside USA and China have been able to achieve India’s feat given our very limited resources and greater constraints.

There is room for great improvement. A thorough overhaul of our professional course syllabus is the need of the hour. The scope of the subjects taught is dismal. There has to be a holistic approach to the learning process in India.

Believe me or not, I have lived/interacted with dozen nationalities in last 20 years. Lived in Malaysia for 4 years. I have always felt that the IQ of Indians is much more than most Asians at least. Only Chinese/Korean/Japanese are similar to/better than us. India’s weakness is our spirituality quotient and high level of emotion being a family oriented society. Individual aspirations take a second place. We live for the community. Our priorities are not the same as Chinese for instance. How many chinese do you expect to go to cinemas, learn classical music not to perform but to soothe one’s soul, or still visit temples and/or go on pilgrimage. Even in Swiss, you can see them shop for watches to sell back for a neat profit at home. India is backward because living life well matters to us more than financial rewards or economic gratification.

Posted in Extras

Political Memes

Compiled from Google Images. Reproduced here without prejudice. None of this is mine. Will keep updating. These memes got me ROFL !!! So sharing here in this space even if most may be already doing rounds in social media. By descending order. From latest to oldest.

Posted in Extras

Public Forum

Speech titled ‘Eye for an Eye’ for Toastmasters CC Manual speech 9 that won me the Best speaker award in the Speakathon today at our FILCOM INTERNATIONAL TOASTMASTERS CLUB among 6 speakers. Intially felt jitter but later on oozed with confidence!

Article titled ‘Aromatherapy’ published in in-house magazine of FILCOM International Toastmasters club.

Speech titled ‘Serve Right’ – TM CC Manual Speech 8 for FILCOM


Speech titled ‘Aromatherapy’ – TM CC Manual Speech 7 – as Test Speaker for Galfar TMC