Wednesday, August 24, 2005

sumangali prarthanai

This ritual is so ridiculously patriarchal. When the daughter of the house is about to get married there is usually a 'sumangali prarthanai'; people get together and pray to the ancestors. Not just any ancestor, mind you - it is to those ancestors who are female and who died before their husbands.

Two cases in point of the two women who died before their husband, one died a very tragic death and her husband struggled to bring up their children and the other it could be argued, was driven to death by her own husband. If we must pray to the ancestors, I cant see why we shouldn't pray to someone like my grandmother who died after a full life of seeing her children and grand children well settled and after seeing her aged husband die peacefully.

The whole 'sumangali' concept is noxious.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Donne & Bharathi

Donne's holy sonnet where he asks his maker - "thou hast made me and shall thy work decay" reminded me of Barathi's tamil poem "Nallathor veenai seidhe - Would you dump to rot an instrument you made so well". Both poems address the maker - you made me, only you can save me.

Donne's poem addresses imminent death and temptation and asks for deliverance. And the stress of Donne's requests more on the 'you' - an instrument made by you.. Only by thy grace I can face this. Without you I cant handle it well.

But Barathi is making demands in all moral anger, that he be granted the power to change the world. It sounds more like why the heck did you make me smart if you weren't planning to give me the power to use it. He asks cheekily - 'gotta problem with granting my wishes?'

Two poets, centuries apart, from different religions and cultures starting of with a similar question yet ending up with two different yet powerful poems!

Thursday, August 11, 2005

George Weller - Hiroshima

Here is an article I read recently. Needless to say I couldn't find this in the popular media channels. My initial reaction was that a story such as this would be so very hard to kill in this day and age with internet and associated technologies. But then again, look at this very article. None of the big media seem to have picked it up which would mean that majority of the people looking only in established, big corporation based media, wouldn't see it. Some wont believe it, but that's another blog.

All said and done, big media still rules.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005


Here is a short story I wrote - Pause Coming shortly after my madurai trip, it'd be tempting to conclude its autobiographical. It is not.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005


Is it just me or does eminem's new 'Ass like that' has a mid-eastern sound?


I love train journeys. Just got back from a trip to madurai. It was fascinating to watch my fellow passengers. There was the returned NRI, who as expected felt compelled to say that he had lived abroad for many many years before coming back, within the first 3 minutes of the conversation. There were the two women one in software another in hotel industry who kept me awake with their discussion on their respective jobs and the relative merits of ICSE and CBSE syllabus. There was the quiet gentleman reading a philosophy book who ate peanuts and fruits for dinner. Then the boisterous crowd of software professionals returning from a jolly time at kodaikanal.

Solomon Pappayya, the tamil scholar and well known TV personality traveled with us. It was heartening to hear chaste tamil. I wondered if he would be available for a discussion on 'thembavani' and 'paramartha guruvum cheedargalum', but decided to leave the poor man alone. He was already deep into getting informed every five minutes by fans that they have seen him on TV. I always have mixed feelings about how to react to a celebrity you like. My friend says, you have to show the person you admire him, that that is encouraging to him/her. I prefer to just acknowledge appropriately and then leave them alone.

I should write my train stories one of these days.

I sat through 10 hours worth of literature class, during the weekend. It was great fun to listen to a lecture on John Donne and Marvel in the middle of a sunday afternoon accompanied by the drone of a fan and the trees sighing outside. The sun shone on, a distant train passed with its usual exuberance and I wondered how great words live on for centuries.