June 27, 2011

Mischievous Monkeys!

Hi Guys,

After the Babbling Babblers, it was the Mischievous monkeys that visited my home today. I was shaving today morning and the brand new razor resulted in a few bruises. I paused shaving and looked out through the window for a while. I was able to see a long snake like thing hanging from the sunshade of the neighbor's house. It was unusual and I moved a little to see what it was. There were two monkeys sitting in the roof. They were showing their teeth now and then and it was just sharp. What will happen if it bites?

I called my mom and she was scared and closed the doors. She joined me to watch the monkeys and simultaneously another big monkey was climbing a coconut tree. It was climbing in such a pace that I was frightened and one of the sitting monkeys jumped to a coconut tree. My God! It jumped nearly 10 feet with such an ease. Crows had built their nest in the trees and at the sight of these creatures they started to panic. They were cawing for a long time.

The three monkeys
Creating Terror!
After seeing a set of photographs, I understood that they were talking with each other
One monkey jumps (hidden by leaves) and another watches
After some time, all the three monkeys came back to the roof with a coconut in their hand. They broke the coconut and feasted for some time, before leaving the place. I don't know where they went. But it is still terrifying to think of these creatures.

Happy Reading!!!

June 23, 2011

Babbling Babblers!

Hi Guys,

For the past few days, I have been able to see a few Babblers around my home. They are called as Thavitu Kuruvi in Tamil and it took me some time to find the English word. Finally Google India search engine helped. I typed the Tamil word and was able to find the English translation. They are small sized birds that arrive now and then in search of food. Each time they arrive as a flock and never forget to fight with the squirrels for food.

This time they came day before yesterday. There was only a pair. They were searching for food and when they found a banana (which was thrown out by mom as it began to decay) they started to eat. Exactly at the same time some squirrels arrived and the party was spoiled. I thought of capturing all those moments but I forgot to charge my camera batteries. However I took some photos of the first babbler that arrived.

The next morning, the whole place was filled with some pleasant music as there were some 10-12 babblers flying across the whole place. Their sound was so pleasant to the ears. Later found out that these birds are called Babblers, because of their babbling (which means making continuous sound rapidly). Particularly they communicate a lot when they are in groups. They came today too. Hope it continues for some more days.

Nature is beautiful. Isn’t it?

Happy Reading!!!

June 21, 2011

Mobile Photographs!

Hi Guys,

I prefer to take photographs using my digital camera, but I can't take it to all the places and have with me all the times. Sometimes, I use the camera in my mobile phone. Its just a 0.3 MP camera and can produce images of 640X480 resolution. I capture images just as fun and I never expect good images though I get decent images sometimes, thanks to the good quality of Nokia. After taking many photos I understood that the main criteria should be that the surrounding should be bright and there should be natural light. Here I share some of the photos with you.

Vegetable Vendor in Chithirai street, near Meenakshi Amman Temple
A large Nandhi nearby Meenakshi Amman Temple
Found this in a college, where I went to participate in a workshop
Greenish Farm- took it during a train journey from Madurai to Chennai
River Cauvery from the train. Took during the same journey
Train Track located nearby houses. Took during the same journey
Took it in Anna Nagar, Madurai
A picture of a tall light post in Madurai
Happy Viewing!!!

June 20, 2011

The Red Violin (1998)

This is a guest post written by friend Varatha Rajan about the movie The Red Violin.

Directed by: François Girard
Starring: Samuel L. Jackson, Colm Feore, Monique Mercure, Don McKellar, Sylvia Chang, Jason Fleming, Greta Scacchi, Carlo Cecchi
Music by: John Corigliano

The movie begins here……………….
The film starts with the auction in Montreal for the lot no. 72 the masterpiece ‘THE RED VIOLIN’. It is auctioned to the rate of $250,000. The the story starts here.

Mr.Nicolo is a violin maker; he works out a masterpiece violin for his future child. By the mean time Anna asks Madame Cesca to predict the future. Cesca predicts the future through the 5 cards taken by Mr.Nicolo. The five cards predict the endless travel of the life of Anna.

This card indicates that she will have an endless travel, with lots of joys and sorrows. But within a couple of days Anna gives birth to her child as a price of her own life. After Anna’s death, the director brings the story to Vienna.

Cesca predicts that the second card means disease and suffering for those around Anna.

The son of Nicolo is bought to an orphanage in nearby town of Vienna. He plays the violin with his co students in the orphanage. After his death the violin moves on five to six generations. Finally it comes to the hands of Kaspar Weiss. The young boy is more talented than the others. He is sent to Vienna under the care of Poussin who adopts the boy from the orphanage with the help of monks. Kasper is clever and smart but has a severe heart disease. Poussin teaches him to play the violin with a speed equal to Poussin meter. After some days the boy dies.

Weiss is buried at the orphanage he grew up in, and Poussin inquires about the violin, seeing how he would like to sell it to Mansfeld. The monks explain that the violin was buried with Weiss so he ‘could play it in heaven’. The violin is later stolen by grave robbers travelling in a gypsy procession, where it is handed down and played by several generations of gypsies, spanning another century before being taken to England.

Cesca's third card is Il Diavolo (the devil), and she explains that Anna will meet a handsome and intelligent man, that will seduce her ‘with his talent and worse’

Frederick Pope (Flemyng) comes across the gypsy procession setting up camp in his own backyard, with a female gypsy playing the violin. The gypsies rush to leave immediately, but Frederick has a different idea; he wants the violin instead, and offers sanctuary for the gypsy procession in addition to viewing one of his concerts. However, on the day of the concert, Frederick is having trouble coming up with a piece to play at the concert and sends for his girlfriend, Victoria Byrd (Scacchi). Frederick requires carnal inspiration, and Victoria serves as his fleshly muse, which inspires him to come up with a new piece. Victoria, an author, obtains her inspirations for her work through travel, and announces to Frederick that she needs to leave on a journey to Russia to seed a novel she is working on.

After Victoria leaves, the two lovers write letters to each other but while Victoria is finding much scope for creativity, Frederick has lost his inspiration to compose. He begins to deteriorate, bedridden, smoking opium. Frederick starts to cancel concerts soon afterwards as he has lost his will to play, and stops writing letters to Victoria. When Victoria arrives at Frederick's residence and hears him playing passionately, she knows he is getting his inspiration in someone else's arms. With gun in hand, Victoria bursts into Frederick's room to find him in the arms of a new muse, the female gypsy violinist. In a moment of rage, Victoria shoots the violin, the bullet grazing and damaging the neck of the violin. The tail-piece and strings come loose as the red violin spins out of Pope's hand. Victoria rushes out.

Frederick's final letter to Victoria states that he will be committing suicide and that he is leaving his entire estate to her. The violin however, ends up in the hands of Frederick's Chinese servant and he takes it back to Shanghai where he sells it to an antiques dealer. The violin is repaired, but a small jewel is removed from the violin's scroll work. It goes on display in the shop for over three decades, before being sold to a young woman with her daughter during the 1930s.

Cesca predicts the fourth card (Justice) means tough times ahead, featuring a trial and persecution, where Anna shall be guilty.

There were protesters against the foreign music. But Xiang protects the violin from them. Only Ming a small neighborhood came to know about this. Xiang hands over the violin to a music teacher. But he suicides himself since the matter leaked to the Chinese govt. through his neighborhood. The chine now exported their entire violin to the foreign countries.

Watch the movie to know about that…

Happy Reading!!!

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)

Hi Guys,

For a long time, I was confused whether to watch this movie or not. Finally I decided to watch this movie and it ended up to a great one. Western movies have dominated during the 60s and 70s across the world. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly was actually taken in Italian and then transformed into an English movie. This movie is directed by the famous Sergio Lione stars Clint Eastwood, Eli Wallach and Lee Van Cleef.

Lee Van Clef plays the role of Angel eyes and is introduced as the Bad. In order to know information about a missing man named Bil Carson, he gets $500 from an army man and in the process he knows about the large quantity of gold being transported by Bil Carson.

Eli Wallach plays Tuco who is the Ugly guy. Clint Eastwood playing Blondie is the Good person and saves Tuco from a group. Tuco is worth $2000 and hence Blondie hands him over to the police and gets the reward. When Tuco is about to be hanged, Blondie shoots the rope and saves him. They carry out this process across cities and share the money. After an escape, Blondie leaves Tuco in the desert, saying it is enough.

Tuco escapes the desert, follows Blondie and captures him. He tortures Blondie by making him to walk in the desert and when he is about to die, they encounter a caravan. In the caravan all the soldiers are dead, except for Bil Carson who is about to die. He informs Tuco about the $200,000 worth gold and says it is buried in Sad Hill grave. Then he asks for water. When Tuco goes to fetch water, Bil dies. Blondie gets the name of the cemetery and hence Tuco must save Blondie.
The Trio

After saving Blondie they go in search of the cemetery and in the process they get into the hands of Angel eyes who is the Sergeant in an army camp. Tuco is tortured and Angel eyes get the name of the grave. Knowing that Blondie won’t say the name, he makes Blondie to join him in search of the cemetery. They are accompanied by 5 other men. When they stay in a village, Tuco arrives there.

Blondie joins Tuco and together they wipe out the 5 men. Angel eyes escapes and so they head for the cemetery. The next hour portrays the events happening in their way and the reactions between the three when they meet at the cemetery.

The dialogues in the movie were fabulous. ‘When you have to shoot, shoot. Don’t talk’ and ‘there are two type of people in this world’ – which is used in a lot of occasions to describe the job between Blondie and Tuco. Cinematography plays a vital role in this movie. The technique of depicting things increases the interest of viewing the movie. Particularly, the climax scene when the three of them stand in a triangle and the way they slowly react to take the guns generates so much interest.

Music is another big advantage. It is in a separate level from other movies and depicts the western genre. I was also able to realize that the music has been used in a lot of Tamil Western genre movies.

Overall, the movie is an excellent depiction of Western Culture and immerses the viewers deeply.

Happy Reading!!!

June 18, 2011

45 minutes of a movie

Hi Guys,

It was very boring yesterday noon and so I switched on the television and all the programs were equally boring. One channel was telecasting an old Tamil movie (from the color, guess it would have been released by 1985 or so). So, I decided to watch that movie. I started watching by 12 pm and it was over by 12.45 pm. I have seen quite a lot of movies and I can definitely say it was the worst.

I was not able to recognize any of the faces and hence it was definitely a flop movie. There are 4 main characters in the movie, Hero, hero’s wife and another heroine who is hero’s friend and also a cancer patient and last but not the least a doctor who treats the heroine. Let me say the story from the time I saw it.

Hero and hero’s wife decide to go to a movie. When hero’s wife goes to change her dress, our hero sees a newspaper ad about a saint who has the talent of curing cancer. So, he decides to visit the saint and leaves without even informing his wife. He visits the saint, who says that liquid extracted from neem leaves and another powder will cure cancer. So he takes the leaves and returns back home by 3 am. He himself prepares the liquid and goes to the hospital. In between he visits the doctor who also accepts the saint’s medicine and says that he is nothing before the 94 year old saint’s experience.

Hero’s wife is of the opinion that he is in love with the other girl. There is another group who is planning to separate the hero from his wife and until the end they don’t do anything to separate them. Our hero daily travels 3 hours in his bike to pluck neem leaves, as there is only one neem tree. The girl’s cancer seems to get worse and she is all set to die soon.

Finally the doctor says that the symptoms are complicated and the time has come for doing a complex surgery. He does the surgery and takes a piece of red cloth and says that the cloth was left inside while doing the surgery for tumor and that was the one creating all the symptoms for cancer and she doesn’t have cancer.

At this time my frustration was at peak and I thought the movie was over. No, it wasn’t. The girl gets better day by day and sometime later our hero’s wife gives birth to a baby and she goes to visit the baby and there is a song there. After the song our hero’s wife faints. Doctor checks and says she needs to be taken to hospital. At hospital, the doctor opens her hand to find that a very poisonous centipede has bitten her and there is no way to save her. So she dies and leaves her baby to the girl and the movie ends there.

Though, I had lot of questions pondering in my mind, the main one is - இப்பிடி எல்லாம் எப்பிடி படம் எடுத்திங்க!!!

Happy Reading!!!

June 17, 2011

Things that Crossed my Way!

Hi Guys,

During the past few days, I started writing a lot of things and I was not able to continue writing stuffs after 1 paragraph. So, thought of writing a collection of lot of things.

Angry Birds
There are quite a few things that everyone will like and we won’t like. Angry Birds is one such thing to me. Just read a stat that Angry Birds is downloaded more than a million times per day. I am not able to find out why I hate this game, but simply it doesn’t sync with my heart. Yesterday read the article ‘Squawk, Virtually’ in The Hindu Metro plus. Many of the avid fans of the game expressed their relationship with the game. One of the players said that he was able to find physics behind this game. He says that the game deals with kinematics, dynamics, projectile, properties of materials and the game tests the player understands of these concepts.

I was laughing for a long time after reading this story. If this is what that attracts him, then he should be attracted to anything, because this whole world is made up of dynamics and kinematics. Seeing the game of cricket technically, you will understand that there is projectile motion every time a ball is thrown, bowled or hit. So, does this mean that the players are experts in projectile motion or does it mean that people good in mechanics play cricket well. It was really a very funny thought.

Favorite Dialogue
For the past two days, #favdialogue has been the top trend in twitter. I thought about my favorite dialogue and remembered the famous dialogue from Batman Begins. How I came to know about the dialogue is even more interesting. Some time back, when I was speaking with my brother about The Dark Knight, he said that the movie is just too good because of the Joker character and as a movie Batman Begins is better and he told me the dialogue then. I was attracted by the dialogue and it was a main reason why I watched that movie. Well, another reason was that it was a Christopher Nolan movie.

Christian Bale plays the role of Bruce Wayne who is also the Batman and Katie Holmes plays the role of Rachel Dawes. Rachel is a childhood friend of Bruce and later becomes his lover. When she sees Bruce enjoying too much in a Hotel, just because he has lot of money, she says, ‘Deep down you may still be that same great kid you used to be. But it's not who you are underneath, it's what you do that defines you’. In the climax, Batman will save Rachel and Rachel will ask who he is. Batman will reply, ‘It is not who I am underneath, but what I do that defines me’. She will be just shocked to know that it is Bruce.

Amazing Acting – Peter O’Toole
A few days back I watched the movie ‘Lawrence of Arabia’. I will write a review about it later. Peter O’Toole plays the role of Lawrence and his acting was incredible. In the 200 minute epic movie, he appears in almost all scenes and the last 30 minutes were the best. He shows fear, anger, guiltiness and distrust in his eyes. In the beginning he likes the desert very much and in the later half after all the fighting and revolt, he shouts, ‘I pray that I may never see the desert again. Hear me, God’. His emotions are really wonderful and it is shocking that he didn’t get an Oscar, though that movie got 7 awards.

Chrome Notebook
Just saw this ad for Chrome Notebook in You tube. Here is the ad for you.

That’s it for now.

Happy Reading!!!

June 12, 2011

Inside Teppakulam!

Hi Guys,

One of the famous places in Madurai is Teppakulam and we have never visited the temple inside. For a long time, Mom has been saying that we should visit it some day and we went there today evening. Before sharing today's experience, let me describe about the place.

Teppakulam (commonly called as Mariamman Teppakulam) is a man made Water Tank built by king Tirumalai Nayak. It is huge and covers 16 acres and it is the largest man made water tank in South India. This place was actually dug to take construction materials for building Meenakshi Amman Temple. While doing so, a Vinayaga Idol was taken out and as a result the king decided to built a temple at the center and water tank around it. It is said that the Vinayaga statue is inside the temple, but I found no statue inside and my mother says that it is none other than the Mukuruni Vinayagar found in Meenakshi Amman temple. The king also started the Teppathiruvizha (Float Festival), which is still celebrated in the month of January. On that day, the temple is decorated with lights and a decorated float goes round the temple. It is a feast to the eyes and stats say that around 100 thousand people visit the festival (Click here to see photos)

Coming back to the modern times, water is not regularly filled and is filled only for the float festival. The tank dries completely in summer and it has become a playground for youngsters. Today we went there by around 5.30 pm and when we went there were about 200-300 boys playing cricket inside the tank. We went through the dry tank towards the center. The temple was located 15-20 feet above ground level and steps were steep. The temple was protected by grills and there was no way inside it. The temple was very greenish in nature. It was filled with lot of trees and due to poor maintenance, some wild bushes have grown up. We walked around the temple and the atmosphere was just wonderful.

There were some people in the center and they had come to relax. Watching the whole region from inside was superb. Pictures speak better than words and here are some of the photos I took today.
The center temple
The main tower
The year of construction: 1635. So it is 375 years old
Some of the places were very poor
One group of cricketers
Herd of cows disturbing a match
Wild Bushes grown inside
Addicted to mobile phone?
Setting the field???
Ah! This was the most terrible thing. A Child Labor!!! Remember today is Child Labor Banishment day. When boys of his age were playing cricket, he was selling Ice Water.
Sun sets down!
A Pani Puri Shop
Flock of Birds
A view of the Vaigai River
View all the photos in my Picasa Web Album!

Happy Reading!!!

June 7, 2011

WED Special - III

Myth Busters!

In the name of saving the environment, we are actually polluting it more. Here are some myth busters
  • Paper cups are safer and environment friendly when compared to plastic (styrofoam cups). No, it isn't. Paper cups are not made of ordinary paper and they take longer time to degrade. They are more dangerous than plastic cups in many ways. Their manufacturing cost is also high. They consume 12 times more steam, 36 times more electricity than a plastic. What more, paper is taken from wood pulp, which again affects the environment. So, it is always better to use reusable cups for drinking beverages.
  • Another one common myth is Electric vehicles don't emit pollution and they are environment friendly. To a part it is true, but we need to make sure the electricity we use comes from a green source. In most cases, electricity itself is generated from fossil fuels. What more, only a small percent of power is converted into electricity and again a considerable percent is lost in the car. As a result, the conventional car will be less dangerous than this one.

June 6, 2011

WED Special - II

Whys Should we Conserve Forests?

Forests are referred to as lungs of the earth. They absorb Carbon dioxide and lets out oxygen. It is amazing to know that forest degradation accounts for 20% of the green house gas emissions. The three main reasons for deforestation are commercial logging, forest fire and gathering wood for fuel. 

Commercial Logging can be cut down by careful monitoring and government needs to ensure that new plants are planted (though this will take long time to compensate the old tree). People need to make sure that they don't buy furniture made of precious timber. For instance teak is commonly used for making royal furniture and imagine how long it must have taken for the teak to grow.

Natural forest fire should be controlled as soon as possible and government must ensure artificial fire does not occur. Primitive people gather wood for fuel and government must educate them. Dry wood can be used instead of fresh ones. Dry wood will burn easily and has higher Calorific value too.

Most of the rivers in the world depend on water. So, if there is no water in the river, then deforestation can be a reason. In recent times, many wild animals have been entering human habitats. Again, deforestation accounts for this one.

So always remember this line Forests: Nature at your Service

Source: UNEP Website

Save Earth!

June 5, 2011

WED Special - I

Hi Guys,

Today (June 5) is celebrated as World Environment Day (WED). As a nature lover, I have decided to write back to back posts about Environment all this week. All the posts will be micro blogs and their main purpose would be to create awareness among my readers.

The theme for this year's WED is Forests: Nature at your Service. Forests cover one third of the earth's surface and it is so important for the survival of many species of animals, trees and they contribute so much to the survival of our planet. Forests have given so much to us and it is sad that we destroy the forests. Each year around 13 million hectares of forests is destroyed. It is equal to the size of Portugal. It is so important to save these forests from extinction.

Visit the official website of WED to know more.

Source: UNEP Website

Save Earth!

June 4, 2011

Movies that touched my Heart - I

Hi Guys,

Certain people get emotional and become characters of all the movies they see. But for people like me, tears are very precious and they come out only when I see very emotive movies. Here, I bring out some of those movies which really brought tears in my eyes.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
Released in 1975, this movie directed by Milos Forman deals with the hard times faced by the patients of a mental institution. Jack Nicholson arrives at the hospital in order to escape from the hard labor of his prison term. He tries to bring fun into the patients before he goes out of the hospital.

The ward is taken care by Nurse Louise Fletcher, who ill treats patients with embarrassing treatments. Jack comes to know that he can’t get out of the hospital even if he is mentally fit. He encourages other patients to do their works and befriends them. He steals a school bus and takes the patients to a short tip and earns a terrible name. Meanwhile he gets into brawl with Louise and is hence treated ruthlessly.

Finally Jack has a master plan to escape along with a Chief, who is acting as a deaf and dumb person. They get into trouble before executing the plan and Jack’s end is very shocking. Some of the scenes including the terrible treatments bring tears.

The acting of Jack Nicholson and Louise Fletcher are so good and they add feel to the movie. Deservingly, both got Oscar awards and the movie amassed 5 Oscars.

Forrest Gump
Forrest Gump is one of the best movies I have ever seen. This movie is directed by Robert Zemeckis in 1994,  stars Tom Hanks who plays the lead role as Forrest Gump. He is not very smart, but is somehow present in all historical events from his young age. He meets Jenny (Robin Wright) the first day he goes to school and she is the only girl whom he could think of in his entire life.

Jenny likes Forrest Gump, but neglects him just because he isn’t smart. Forrest is not intelligent, but one way or another he always meet good people and fortune favors him and so he is always in the history book. But Jenny eludes him till the end and when he finds her, there is a shocking truth. The scene in which Tom Hanks speaks to Jenny’s grave shows all the feelings he had for her.

There are so many wonderful quotes in this movie. ‘Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you get’. Forrest proposes to Jinny, ‘I’m not a smart man… But I know what love is’. This movie got 6 Oscar Awards and it is no surprise that Tom Hanks got the award for Best Actor.

(To be continued…)

Happy Reading!!!

June 1, 2011

Life's Beautiful!

Hi Guys,

Life’s Beautiful *Conditions Apply. This is the tag line of one of my friends. I have asked him what are those conditions quite some times and he has never given me the answer.

The statement is very true and I think the condition is that you should realize the beautiful things around you and start to enjoy them. Life will be very very beautiful then. I often feel that we fail to notice the things that are beautiful just because they are so small and neglect them.

It was one of those hot summer days today morning and I never expected that there will be a rain. It was sunny till 2 pm and all of a sudden clouds arrived and started to quench the dry earth. The feel was just magnificent. I tried to take some photos and at the end I failed. But when I was taking photos from the windows and doors, the rain water was splashing on face and it was just wonderful. How many of you will consider this wonderful?

Another thing I enjoy always is the appearance and behaviour of tiny creatures. Watching them creates peace and happiness in my mind. I watch squirrels almost every day. The way they roam around actively, the way they quarrel among themselves for food, the way they climb and jump or in short the things they do in order to survive amazes me. I enjoy watching birds, butterflies fly. Have you watched spiders spin their web? It puts in a lot of hard work in that and if the web is destroyed it builds one newly. Also watching these creatures make me realize that life is interconnected and we can’t survive without relying on each other.

Again lets go back to my friend, for whom Life’s Beautiful. I think Life’s Beautiful to him, just because he is full of positive thoughts. There were lot of times when he has sowed positive thoughts inside me. I think the positive thoughts have made him quite philosophical these days. This is what he was saying about my blogging today morning,

‘Not everyone has the power to make people read words written. It's something which can come only when you really mean something from deep inside your mind. This flame will keep u go a very long distance of achievement in your life’

I think he is a far better writer than me. Not just this, he is very philosophical about a lot of things. I have heard him speak about relation between Job and Hard work, Life and Death and many more things. But, whatever he speaks will be positive and will also fuel positive thoughts into you.

Well, he is my friend Vijay Dinesh, who is currently working in Singapore.

Happy Reading!!!