Under the sun

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Brazil - El magnífico

I and my roomies were rooting for Argentina but it was a disappointing result (4-1) and a totally one-sided match. Brazil were unstoppable last night. Technically excellent, physically fitter and faster than the Argentines, they dominated right throughout the game. Adriano's goal the first of the match was brilliant and so was the build-up before Kaka's goal. Hopefully, we should see a better Argentina in the World Cup with Crespo and Veron back.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Bush, Blair indicted

Source : Al Jazeera (Read the linked article)

The World Tribunal on Iraq, which has roots in the anti-war movement in the West and is intended to collect testimony for legal cases connected with the war, met over three days in Istanbul, Turkey. The panel included academics, writers and activists including my favorite Arundhati Roy. Of course, the ruling has no legal binding and the offendors are free to continue doing their "thing". However, the only possible deterrents are grass-roots protests and street-demonstartions, with the American and the British people having already given their mandates to the atrocities in the two countries' elections.

Is anybody listening to you, Arundhati? I am!

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

The greatest truth ever told

Forget the 4 Vedas, forget the Bible, forget the Holy Quran or any holy scripture to have been passed down to us earthlings. I declare with absolute conviction that The Greatest Truth ever told is not any of the aforementioned. The Truth has been uttered by none other than Scot Adams, in his Dilbert ways.
OK, that was a bit too much but you would come to the same conclusion had you been subjected to the victimization as a result of the incompetence of managerial policy in general and managers in particular, and Corporate Policy, as we know it, at large.
Why does the corporate workplace suck? Why don't planners and managers keep simple things simple?
One thing puzzles me to no end: If managers "manage" the Lead and the Engineers ("workers"), and they take the decisions, why don't they decide on something if i go to them with a simple question - Is this possible or not? OK, you might argue that they need to consult the "workers" to help them decide. Fine, in that case, after consulting the workers one of the following must happen:
a) Since the worker has the knowledge, he might as well decide for the manager
b) Having gained the precious and rare knowledge from the workers, why doesn't the manager give me the answer, instead of putting me onto another manager who is even higher up the command chain?
Net Result: I'm sitting on my ass and staring at the monitor without getting an answer for a very simple question, depending on which my next move rests. I'm grounded, for now :(

There was this "joke" doing the rounds sometime back. I wish it were just a "joke" and not a real situation as it is in many of our cases!

Programmer to PL: "This is not possible!!!
Impossible. It will involve design change and
nobody in our team knows the design of the
system. And above that nobody in our company
knows the language in which this software has
been written. So even if somebody wants to
work on it, they can't. If you ask my personal
opinion the company should never take these
type of projects."

Project Leader to Project Manager: "This
project will involve design change. Currently
we don't have people who have experience in
this type of work. Also the language is
unknown so we will have to arrange for some
training if we take this project. In my
personal opinion, we should avoid taking this

Project Manager to AVP: "This project involves
design change in the system and we don't have
much experience in that area. Also not many
people are trained in this area. In my
personal opinion we can take the project but
we should ask for some more time."

AVP to SVP: "This project involves design
re-engineering. We have some people who have
worked in this area and some who know the
language. So they can train other people. In
my personal opinion we should take this
project but with caution."

SVP to CEO: "This project will show the
industry our capabilities in modeling the
design of a complete system. We have all the
necessary skills and people to execute this
project successfully. Some people have already
given in-house training in this area to other
people. In my personal opinion we should not
let this project go by under any

CEO to Client: "These are the type of projects
in which our company specialize. We have
executed many projects of the same nature for
many big clients. Trust me when I say that you
are in the safest hand in the Industry. In my
personal opinion we can execute this project
successfully and that too well within the
given time frame."

Corporate culture is crap!

Saturday, June 25, 2005

20 minutes of electric shock!

No matter which language you choose, sometimes words aren't enough to describe what you feel. I experienced that feeling this evening when i was put through 20 minutes of blissful shock!
I bought a CD of Ilaiyaraaja Live in Italy CD before i went for the Ilaiyaraaja Fan club meet at the Santhom Communications Center at Luz Church road. I booked my pre-release order of 8 audio CD's and a Collector's Edition. Pandiarajan, CEO of Ma Foi Consultancy came first, followed by two people from Chennai online. There were three other press persons also, to cover the event. Dr.Vijay had even made a banner of our club with a portrait of the Maestro.
Then came Rev Father Jegath who gave a very clear and information-filled speech.
He was tired and at the same time releived that the perseverence of the TBI team had paid off but gently reminded us that more work had to be done on our part to promote the album. He even said that IR was not very easy to work with, as is the case with any genius. He didn't mean to put down IR's character, but rather, on the contrary, eccentricity and unpredictabilty exists where genius exists. The Maestro's mind is constantly chruning out tunes, from an ocean of swaras and his plane of existence is so different from ours that it is best if we remain just as his fans. He should know, as he has seen the Maestro churn out notes on his pad at an astonishing speed, the notes flowing into his head like a gush of a waterfall. Imagine writing notes for 36 instruments entirely in his head and not by having them played when he is composing.
He gave the sweet shock of the day when he announced that he was going to treat us with a sample of Thiruvasagam By Ilaiyaraaja in his modern studio. The buzz started amonst us from the moment.

We switched off our mobiles, removed our footwear and stepped into the studio whose lights were soon turned off. Father told us that he would be playing the master-piece from the album, the 18-odd minute Oratorio.
20 minutes passed. None of us knew what hit us. I'm not going to waste too many words describing the music or the experience. It will suffice to say that we were hit by 440 volts of electric shock. I heard the guy in front of me sobbing, literally. I held myself together even as i felt myself melting to Raaja's voice and the unbelievable mix of counterpoint (English lyrics), the western and the Indian harmony. No one has ever heard such a composition before.
One remark by a person said it all:
I don't believe in God, as i'm an atheist, but i just had a spiritual experience. That's enough for me for a lifetime
Father explained that one objective which evolved out of the excercise was to change the culture of music in our land. Remixes, kuthu songs all sounding alike, and noise masqerading as music - these should not be our identity as a cultural entity. If TBI were to reach the people, it would lead to a spiral of cultural recovery, as far as our music and arts are concerned. How true!

One word on Ilaiyaraaja and other music directors. They were all invited to the same studio for a sample hearing of the TBI, in IR's presence. Everyone was there - M.S.V, A.R Rahman, Vidhyasagar, Dhina, S.A Rajkumar (!?!). I can very well guess what their reaction would have been. ARR said "This is extraordinary, he is a national treasure".
IR first and daylight second

Get the album on June 30th, i can't wait.......

Thursday, June 23, 2005

First hurdle cleared

Cleared the first hurdle in my quest for getting the transfer to Chennai (sigh!).
Was a bit nervous about the client interview which was scheduled for today evening. No match practice for quite sometime, you know....
Turned out to be quite OK, the only problem being the European accent of one of the interviewers. I begged his pardon at least 4 times :)

Got to brush my long burried skills and got to do that quicky too. Might make it by this month-end. Getting a bit nervous, i should confess.

Gotta a lot to think about tonight.... I'm broke - dry as a bone, haven't got my ticket for tomorrow's trip to home, relocating issues, backing up data, contributing to Thiruvasagam By Ilayaraaja and the list goes on.......

Tomorrow shall give me some answers......

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Reactions of a friend and fellow IR fan

Balachandar, i'm taking the liberty to post this and i know you wouldn't mind :)
This is what my friend said after listening to IR Live in Italy
Over to Balachandar....

it definitely strikes a cord in the heart....
when thambi rehman tries to read the market/industry
and gives them what they want (bombay dreams and
other international deliverables), raja as a true
creator has gone ahead and given what he knows...
he is not bothered about the audience, like kamal
he expects the audience to like what he likes.
people with these qualities are called true

while some are smooth and cool the "Aasaya kaathulae"
prelude threatens you...the "thumbi vaa" is excellent.
i wonder if raaja tries to make an instrumental on
few of his melodies like what he has done on "thumbi
vaa" it will be close to beethovaans and the mozarts...
go buy it..

"Thamizh and western music: A new dimension in Maestro's Songs" - an article by Bass Vicky

Here is an interesting article by Vignesh N (Bass Vicky), a member of the Ilayaraaja Fan Club.
Needless to say, i've put this here with Bass Vicky's "go-ahead" :)

This is the article which I have written purely with
my inherent experience with Maestro's songs and
doesnot refer to anyother poeple or content in
anyform. If any mistakes occur in the article, please
forgive me.

“Zh” occuring in this article is a retroflex L, with
the tongue bent backward and almost up to the roof of the mouth (its akin to an American pronunciation of 'r')

Title: "Thamizh and western music: A new dimension in
Maestro's Songs"

Thamizh Folk songs:

Take any folk song of Thamizh Nadu, it is not
surprising to find a few melody instruments but it is
rather more surprising to find a variety of percussion
instruments which far out numbers the melody
instruments. The reason which I have found out by way
experience is that melody is inherent to Thamizh
language and no instrument is needed to augment it.
Comments the great devotee of music, Thiru
Jayachandran, a great playback singer the South India:
"The natural flow of the Thamizh language gives a
musical touch to Thamizh which makes its songs much

One might have known that Thamizh has a poetic history
for thousands of years but prose is relatively new
(probably a century old). The earliest known
literature describing poetry and melody in Thamizh is
the Sangam literature. Chilappathikaaram and kANalvari
are the beginnings of what we consider as the early
Thamizhisai (the roots of Carnatic music). Also, we
never recite sacred texts like Thirvaasakam, and
Thevaaram; instead we sing it. Even Thamizh dialects
like Madurai Thamizh, Tirunelveli Thamizh, Coimbatore
Thamizh, Eelam Thamizh, Chennai Thamizh, Thanjai
Thamizh, etc. are mainly characterized by the usage of
distinct melodies in these dialects when spoken.

Folk songs in Thamizh can also be called as
Thamizhisai. I don’t see any difference in calling
Thamizh folk music as Thamizhisai or vice-versa.
Considering folk songs, we can find a lot of rhythm
instruments like Thavil (Melam), Pambai, Urumi,
Thaaram, Thampattai, Gatam etc. but only a few melody
instruments like Yaazh and sangu. Also occurrence of a
lot of rhythm instruments means evolution of a variety
of complex rhythm patterns too!

In western music, one can find a lot of melody
instruments like strings, brass, piano, guitar, etc.
but only a few rhythm instruments like drums, congos,
and bass guitar (about 80 years old). Of course, these
melody instruments can also be used to provide rhythm
background by playing specifically in a different
pattern. Western music also incorporates melody by way
of harmonising various voices.

in a language which is inherently poetic accompanied
by instruments from the western world which has
inherent melody in it, we find the song very rich. In
addition to that, complex rhythm patterns in Thamizh
Folk Music played on western rhythm instruments give a
new perspective. Musical Thamizh language blends with
musical nature of melody instruments inherent to
western music to create a totally scintillating
phenomenon. When the uniqueness from all types of
music in the world are combined meticulously then we
can find what we call ILAIYARAAJA MUSIC and we are
gifted to get the world of music in front of us.

Coming to the real examples which I have researched
(observed) using my limited knowledge in music....Say,
a layman’s research (observation) on expert creations.
"Poda Poda Punnakku": Is one simple yet a classic
example of a song featuring instruments only for
rhythm and you guessed it right, the melody is in the
vocals itself.

Raajathi Raaja: Song featuring kaleidoscopic rhythm
patterns inherent to Thamizhisai played on western

Kannan Vanthu Paadukiraan: You should know about the
traits of the great Ilaiyaraaja in this soothing song.
Every instrument is meant only for Melody; even Bass
Guitar, which is a rhythm instrument. It has a
complete western orchestration. Also this song
exemplifies how Bass Guitar is researched by Him to a
greater extent than anyone else.

Roja Poo Aadivanthathu: This song sounds 100% western
except for the Thamizh lyrics. Everything is western;
the western instruments, the harmonizing voices, the
piano runs, etc. and add to that the melody of Thamizh

Ninukkori Varanam: Ok. Take this song. It is similar
to Roja Poo Aadivanthathu; all western instruments.
The twist here is that these instruments are played in
a clearly recognizable Carnatic style.

Oru Poongaavanam: Ya! Also has western orchestration.
So what? What is unique. Try listening to Bass Guitar
and drums - a simplistic yet complex folk rhythm

Thumbi Vaa: Where Bass Guitar takes over from voice,
the prominent place of providing the basic tune of the song.

Nilavu Paatu: When you listen to prelude alone, you
will brand it as a progressive rock song. But it turns
out to be a Thamizh song if you continue listening
after the prelude.

Aayiram Thaamarai Mottukalae: A blend of folk and
carnatic song with some tidbit additions of strings,
rhythm guitar, keys. So the deal here is the Bass
Guitar part.

More to come with more in-depth research.

Long LiveThe King

From "The Hindu"

Culture, the core strength of our land: Manmohan

CHENNAI: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has congratulated music director Ilayaraja for composing Thiruvasagam in symphony.

The maestro, accompanied among others by the Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam general secretary, Vaiko; the founder-director of Tamil Maiyam, Jagath Gaspar Raj; and Akila Srinivasan of Shriram Investments, called on Dr. Singh in New Delhi on June 18 and presented his latest musical magnum opus to him.

According to a release issued by the Tamil Maiyam here on Tuesday, Dr. Singh said culture is the core strength of our land and Mr. Ilayaraja's effort would be an addition to it.

Mr. Vaiko told the Prime Minister that Mr. Ilayaraja revolutionised popular music and he was the first Indian to perform a symphony at St.Albert Hall in London in 1993. The album would be released on June 30, the release said
I can't wait for the launch on June 30th. A pity i won't be able to attend the aunch at the Music Academy, Chennai. The members of Ilaiyaraaja fan club are working on a war footing to promote the magnum opus. It's a sad irony that the Emperor Of Music doesn't get due recognition in India while he has enthralled audiences elsewhere, recently in Italy
Everything A.R Rahman does is big news (with all due respect to ARR. In fact, he's my favorite Indian MD after IR), while monumental feats by Ilayairaaja remain unreported and unnoticed by the mainstream media, especially the West-aping "Bollywood-centric" media.
However, i'll be attending the club meet this weekend in Cehnnai. The IR Live in Italy CD is out in Chennai, and i shall be buying it too.
Let all the elements say His name!

Oz Oz oi oi! Argentina rules!

What's with the Aussies these days? If losing to a county was not enough, they have lost to Bangladesh, never mind the humiliation at the hands of the "Poms".
I'm sure they'll come back firing but it'll take quite some steam to stop the English onslaught.
A target of 300 looks like child's play in today's one-day cricket. In my book, that doesn't make for interesting viewing. As if batsmen were not already dominating in cricket, of late the dice seems to be loaded more in favor of them. And with The Lion Sachin, injured, i'm not all that keen on cricket right now.
Football is a different proposition altogether, inspite of the fact that i have a lot of catching up to do on the league scene. Watched the first-half of the Argentina-Germany match. Argentina dominated for the most part of the match though they were a bit lethargic initially. In the end, 2-2 was a fair enough result. They must be the favorites to win the Confederations cup.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Bush back to his best

He lied for two years, they voted him back to power (never mind Ohio and the uncounted votes), and now he is back with the same old lie - the BIG one.
We went to war because we were attacked, and we are at war today because there are still people out there who want to harm our country and hurt our citizens,........ I am confident that Iraqis will continue to defy the sceptics as they build a new Iraq that represents the diversity of their nation and assumes greater responsibility for their own security, and when they do, our troops can come home with the honour they have earned.

Yeah, they can come home with the honor they have earned, not to mention the blood of thousands of Iraqis - soldiers and civilians in their hands.
This must be the 521st time Bush has first lied, then kept quiet, only to resurface with the lie again. This is one notch up above our BJP's famous flip-flops.
Are the majority of Americans dumb enough to believe this even though no WMD was found in Iraq, Osama Bin Laden was never connected to Iraq in any way and the the bomb-blasts which rock Iraq everyday is due to the invasion?
One of my school-mates is working in the U.S after completing his masters there. We were chatting in the messenger one day last November. Somehow the topic of the elections came up, he was vehemently in support of Bush and particularly his Iraqi invasion. In fact, these were the very words he used, "He's doing the right thing. We should bomb the Muslim m**** f****** out of the world". When i gently reminded him that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11, his reaction baffled me. It was as though he wasn't ready to believe it, inspite of the facts glaring at his face, and more than anything he didn't care. Well, that's an Indian talking. Imagine the "patriotic" Americans! Gives me the creeps.


Well, i still haven't been able to get hold of a pen-drive to copy some stuff from my home PC. Still waiting for my transfer to Chennai. Still waiting for the money locked in some oblivion between Standard Chartered and Citibank that should have been sitting in my account one month back.
"He also serves those who stand and wait.." - John Milton

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Anniyan - Indian Reloaded

Anniyan shows a packed JN stadium a "film-division" kind of flick through a projector on a giant screen. He cites a few examples of small East-Asian countries like Singapore, Japan, Korea, Malaysia succeeded economically inspite of their small size and against unsurmountable odds. He asks in righteous indignation why this is not the case with our India?
I wish to show a similar flick to director Shankar about quality movies from other parts of the world and even from our country. I will ask him "See the kind of movies they are making? Don't we have the talent, creativity and ability to make such movies? Why is the quality of Tamil movies so bad that the medioccre is accepted as good and the average is rated as great? Inspite of being a talented and successful director who gives a lot of attention to detail, why do you insist on rehashing the same themes again and again ad nauseum? Why waste a good performance from Vikram and the sacrifice he has made for more than a year on such a stale script?"

Well, that's Anniyan for you - Indian rehashed, albeit unsuccessfully. I don't know if the movie will be a hit or not but i can say that almost every scene brings a sense of deja vu to the viewer. Vikram's performance abd screen presence maybe the saving grace for the film, apart from the picturization of songs one usually expects from a Shankar film.
I missed the opening few minutes of the movie as a few of my friends arrived a bit late to the theatre. After the movie all of us wondered why we shouldn't have come three hours late to the movie!
Shankar is a victim of his own obsession with technical ostentation. Showing a spilt personality in Chandramukhi was convincing, but in Anniyan, it almost looks like a joke and any student or practitioner of psychology will laugh all the way back home on seeing such a concept being reduced to a mockery of "Ambi", "Remo" and "Anniyan".
Shankar's stunts are becoming increasingly painful to watch. However, the fight at the martial arts club comes with a statutory warning: You might spill your guts out laughing at the stunt. I mean i was never a fan of Jet Li or The Matrix this stunt sequence is a rape of both put together. Not to mention Vikram fly Gilli-style in the first fight.
Why don't we ban graphics in Indian cinema instead of banning smoking?
There are a lot of questions raised and left unanswered - the transitions from each personality lacks credibility, the love scenes between "Remo" and "Nandy" are unconvincing to name a couple. In fact, Vikram could have done without his put-on accent as the mod-Remo.
Perhaps the most glaring mistake in the movie is this: It is inexplicable that Sadha cannot make out that "Ambi" and "Remo" are the same. Reminds me of the MGR-days when the only disguising would be either a "dhrishti" pottu or sun glasses.

To say something positive about the movie, well obviously Vikram. Vivek's comedy passes muster.
One thing interesting thing i observed (or was it my imagination) is in the showdown with Prakash Raj, "Ambi" has a slight paunch while "Anniyan" has a tight ab.

All in all, it would be a travesty if this movie were to be a hit. Well, such is the nature of things in Tamil Nadu at present. You never know.