Friday, December 21, 2007

Whats Special About Mallus???

I have heard this question many times and it amazes me that people still have to ask this. Am I not the living breathing proof of this? Why do you have to look further? Anyway, I am going try and explain this so pay attention.

First things first, you gotta visit the place. Kerala is a special place - Discovery Channel has nominated it as one of the ten most beautiful places in the world. You name it, you'll get it here - lakes, rivers, beaches, temples, churches, elephants, ayurveda, hill stations, kalaripayattu, kathakali, festivals, food... the list is endless. When you drive from one place to another, you will be amazed at the greenery and the sights you'll pass. Even after knowing the place so well, I still stop and take in something striking like green fields swaying in the breeze or elephants parading outside a grand temple. Obviously such a special place will have special people eh!!!

A word of caution - please ignore the eyesores that people working in the 'Gelf' have constructed as homes; they are big, gaudy and a complete waste of money.

Now, I have a lot of mallu friends and have found a few traits that are common. One of them can be clearly defined with a Malayalam word 'paradushanam' - loosely transalated as 'discussing faults of others'. We are all observant people especially of the faults and shortcomings in others (it could be because no one comes up to us). So when a couple of us meet up, we tend to analyse people, events, relationships and come out with explanations. This is always done with a degree of humour and sarcasm and there are many masters to this fine art. So please beware when the majority of the group are Mallus as it may turn into a Paradushana Committee.

However, we are good people to hang out with. A good sense of humour, intelligent and a fondness to listen to our own voices makes it easy for us to attract people around us (wonder why is it not working with the chicks). So when you are throwing a party ensure that there is a good mix of mallus and non-mallus and everyone will have a good time. Of course, you will need more booze and non-veg snacks to fill us up but hey, it will be remembered as a rocking party. Also, we are the usually the last to leave (since the booze got over) so please warn the neighbours.

Single women beware, a Malayalee man is a proud man and hence will not help in the house-work. He is clear that he will bring in the money and support y'all but cleaning, cooking and washing are definitely low on his priority list. Of course, directions will be provided on how to improve your skills in these aspects but before you throw the knife or chapathi belan you are using, remember that man-slaughter will get you life imprisonment so concentrate on the good parts mentioned in the above para.

Some of the things that make me proud are that we are a 100% literate state. However, this has made a lot of the people in the state lazy and unwilling to do manual labour as a result of which it is expensive to get any kind of help in the house and people from other states are taking up these jobs. Conversely, malayalees outside the state are usually hard-working and pretty good at what they do. We have been the butt of jokes for our special accent. The old ones have been repeated so often that it is now painful and every new joke that comes up has to be cracked in our presence. Also, malayalees are generally peaceful folks and dont bother others too much apart from their curiosity and this makes them peaceful to stay and hang out with (provided you break in as we are a bit clannish)

So Mallus everywhere, give yourself a pat on the back as you deserve it and Non-mallus, try and hook up with one of us and we will show you some 'special times' ;-)

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Of People and Places

Start spreading the news, I'm leaving today
I want to be a part of it - new york, new york
These vagabond shoes, are longing to stray
Right through the very heart of it - new york, new york

- New York, New York by Frank Sinatra

(link to the song -

6 years and four cities. I guess it does make me a bit of a vagabond. As my friends would vouch, I am not a travel bug and it is only circumstances that have forced me "to go places". It has been a refreshing change though every time and I think I wouldn't mind doing it all over again (till I am married and rearing kids).

I can't name any of the cities as my favourite as they have all have good and bad points.
Bombay - big; bad and busy. People rushing here and there, bouncing of you, exhausting you by the sheer volume of people and distances to be travelled. Time flies by in a blur and week after week melts into one long stretch. You actually feel like a rat in a rat race. The people are the best though - no one bothers you unless you need help and then they give it and go away without expecting thanks. Also, Bombay has EVERYTHING you need and everyone is professional, now that is convenience.

Pune - at least when I was there - was a student filled city and what a buzz it had because of that. I guess I felt it more because I was just out of college. Just hanging out on the balcony, enjoying the cool weather and watching cute women pass by was so relaxing (especially on the eyes). Also, the best place to ride a bike expect when girls dressed like terrorists zip by you on their little Scootys.

Chennai - the comforts of a metro without the hassles of a big city. Everything is available close by, you don't have to travel more than twenty minutes to get anywhere (discounting the ten minutes you argue with the ^$#^* auto guy). Home to the one of the best forms of music - dapanguthu, Saravanna Bhavan and Zara's - you cant ask for more. Yeah yeah, I hear you - centrally air conditioning, a gun to shoot irritating auto drivers, wishing that all of Chennai learns Hindi overnight.... come on guys.

Bangalore - great weather, lousy traffic. Unfortunately for me, when I left Chennai, I packed my car stereo with the rest of my stuff which is still warehoused and now I am left with absolutely no entertainment when I am stuck in a jam..... grrrrrhhhhhh. Another thing which I am not used to is hunting for parking. It may be great exercise to walk ten minutes to the restaurant after parking a mile away in an inside lane but you might die of stress-related heart attack before that. Frankly, the golden age of Bangalore seems to be over when the parks and the pubs were so cool. It seems extremely showy with malls and restaurants that are designed to take away the average software engineer's money away. However, the weather is unbeatable and almost worth everything else. Also, some of the pockets are really pretty with lots of trees and neat roads. I am hoping that the authorities really improve the infrastructure while keeping the good stuff intact.

Still gotta talk about the people eh? Lemme think... think think.... nope nothing good I can say about any of you. Just kidding, actually I count myself lucky that wherever I went, my friends were already there and made it that much easier to settle down. I really don't know how people manage when they move to a place where they don't know anybody. I guess I wont have that problem given my high ratings on the popularity charts. Another good thing is that I have found colleagues at work who have similar interests (read as ready to party and laugh at my great jokes) and have become good friends over time.

Short and simple - places may change but people remain the same and this one goes out to the best of them on the planet - my friends

Thursday, May 3, 2007

HECH - EE - YA - T (The Heat of Chennai)

Man it is HOT in Chennai. Although I have been known (in my younger days) to use the same term to describe girls, here I am specifically talking about what is measurable in Centigrade and Fahrenheit. You have to be here to believe it.

The day typically gets warm by about 7 in the a.m. So if you are thinking about those early morning walks, it better be really early. The water in the overhead tank is already getting heated so you have to take a shower ASAP. Once in the afternoon I thought I would go in for a cooling shower but yikes I was almost scalded. Now I fill a bucket of water and let it cool down before plunging in. Once you are all set for office, you transform into a ‘really short’ distance sprinting champ. From the car into the office-into the car-into the client’s office-into the car and so on… All these places have air-conditioning, which is a blessed relief except for one place – home. I am not one of the super-rich who have central air-conditioning or an A/C in every room. Only my bedroom has an A/C while the remaining rooms slowly turn into a cauldron during the day. This curtails my movements because I just don’t want to step out of there. Recently, a friend of mine came home and he too wouldn’t step out. I had to play a good host to his whims and fancies and go fetch him water from the fridge and do other ‘host-ly’ things while slowly melting.

Chennaites seems to have adjusted well though and seem to be waiting for the next couple of months to pass. Everybody moves around in a peaceful stupor when they are in the heat, once in a while cursing in a languid manner – “Machan its too hot da”. Bikers tend to find a shady tree to park while being forced to wait at the signal probably envying car drivers locked in their chilled cocoons. Colas, ice creams, caps, A/C units, glares are in major demand (unfortunately tank tops and short skirts are not part of the list). Only the kids are out enjoying their summer holidays, playing cricket or scampering around.

There are some plus points that need to be appreciated. Clothes dry in a jiffy so you can actually run two loads in the machine. You save on electricity bills by getting hot water without a geyser (let’s just ignore the A/C humming in the background). It makes you appreciate the finer things in life (like a cold beer). You understand that Nelly was not being lewd when he sang “It’s getting hot in here so take off all your clothes….”. You can also see some really funny sights of people wearing cool caps and funny sunglasses.

After reading this I am sure you are in two minds whether to come here or not. Do come and visit cause with a ‘coooool’guy like me, you know it is still a great place. We can always take Nelly’s advice….

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Mera Bai, Hai Hai

I have rented an apartment by myself for the past 9 months and it’s been really great. For the record (in case they read it), I have stayed with some great guys and had really unforgettable times. However, staying alone has many perks. The space is absolutely yours. No one interferes with your morning schedule, as you are king of the loo. You can blast music, watch your favourite channels and keep the house as clean or as dirty as you want. There is a whole list of stuff I can talk about but that’s not what this article is about. It’s about the most painful aspect of my solitary existence – my bai (this creature is also referred to as maid)

She looks like a harmless thing – thin, dark and mousy but people with inferiority complexes can take attitude lessons from her. I must have told her a million times to come at 8.30 a.m. but she is never here before 9.00 a.m. Her first task is to wash the dishes. Along with this, she carries on a self-imposed task of arranging my kitchen. It’s almost like arranging a doll-house. This takes her about 20 minutes by which time my BP has already gone up. After this, she sweeps and mops the floor. She does a good job but seems to have been traumatized in childhood of dark corners and spaces under the furniture and doesn’t touch these areas. I have to remind her once in three days that 1) Dust does collect at these places and b) she bloody well clean it or else….

Earlier, she was accompanied by her two daughters – about 15 and 13 year olds who amazingly had more cheek than their mom!!! They would all come home in the morning and suddenly I felt like a guest. While their mother would do the work, one daughter would make coffee while the other loitered in my balcony and hummed Tamil songs. Then, they would watch TV till I was ready to leave. Luckily, it never came to the point where I had to drop them on my way to office ;-) I put a brake to this when she pissed me off on a hung-over morning and I told her to clear out with her children and never bring them back.

She has an uncanny knack of taking leave whenever there are guests at home. I guess her internal radar sets off when my guests set foot in Chennai and she takes leave on that very day. Therefore, in addition to picking up my guest, I also have to wash the dishes and set the house straight. The best part is that I end up defending her when my guest tells me that she is no good and that I should get rid of her. This is because I am a nice guy/I don’t like admitting to mistakes/Who the heck is going to find a new bai and get adjusted to her?

In all fairness, she works hard, straightens the house out on her initiative and doesn’t steal anything - except Surf, I think but don’t have proof so don’t show her this or she may sue ;-) So, if you guys know some super bais here in Chennai, please recommend ASAP. Please use the comment space to vent your frustrations and suggest innovative ideas (barring maiming/torture/murder). Let us unite and present a joint front against the Big Bad Bais of this world.

Friday, February 9, 2007

This is how you do it – In Chennai

Among all the Tamil songs that I have listened, danced and horrified my closer ones with, my three favorites remain the ones mentioned below.

Before going there, I must give you some background. When I was in MCC (Grad College), I was inducted into the art of “Dappanguthu”. It was and still is one of the fun things I like to do. Put on a racy Tamil number at full blast and I will show you a few dance movements that may put Elvis the Pelvis to shame. But what is this Dappanguthu, machan? Simply put, it is a dance form which requires no formal training, a great deal of energy, illogical and vulgar movements involving your hips, butt and facial expressions. You must have seen Prabhu Deva do it in some song or the other. If not, put on Sun TV (or any other Tamil channel) and you will see it soon enough.

Coming to the songs I like, after you read this article, you have to download the songs and listen to them. For me. Please.

The first one is called Vaa Maane. It is a song by Suresh Peters from his album Minnal. I think it was released around 1995 –96 but am not really sure. All dapanguthu songs are charactersied by their strong beat and macho and/or vulgar lyrics. However, Suresh Peters has managed to make a love song out of this one.

The second one is called Aal Thotta Boopathi. I believe this was released more than a year back but I heard it only when I moved to Chennai. I heard it twice and then didn’t even realise when I started humming it. Suddenly, I was possessed with a need to own the song. This song is made in such a way that only tamil star Vijay can dance properly to it. However, don’t hesitate to give it a shot. After the chorus, there is always a part where the song starts slowly, then it goes into a high pitch and then the beat really takes off. What you have to do is move only your shoulders and your feet first. Then you bring your hands and hips into play and then JUST LET LOOSE. Warning – please try this in the privacy of your room with all windows closed.

The third one is called Maana Madurai. This is a straight up, no holds barred song. It is an extremely catchy song. The lyrics are quite funny. It talks about how these guys are shy to look at girls, leave alone talking to them.

The songs Vaa Maane and Maana Madurai are available on Just search for them the way I have spelt it and you will find it. Aal Thotta Boopathi is available at Have a great time dancing ;-)

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Dance to this

Recently, I picked up this CD called Hot Joints 4. There are some pretty cool songs in it. One of the songs I really liked is “Get It On The Floor” by DMX. Now, let me make it clear that I am not a fan of DMX, no sirree. You know how he has this rough voice that doesn’t really seem to go with the smoothness of rap/hip-hop. Plus all the cussin’ and the shootin’ gets a little too heavy to the whole song.

However, this one is a good dance number where you can groove to, especially the background tune. Also the chorus where he goesJustify Full
Now you can ride to this Motherf***** (uh)
Bounce to this Motherf***** (uh)
Freak to this Motherf***** (let's get it on)

really gets your legs moving. Also, the beauty of the word motherf***** is that you can rhyme it with anything. A bit of trivia – Will Smith says it’s his favourite cuss word as you can use it for all occasions ;-)

You can watch the video at

You can download the lyrics at It’s the usual stuff so don’t expect any soul stirring stuff. They also have info on DMX if you want check it out.