Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Yelagiri trip

I along with my wife and kid made a short trip to Yelagiri, 200+ kms from Chennai yesterday. It is a quaint little hill station. Nothing much to visit there except for a park and a small lake where one can do boating. Sharing some of the pictures I took on my digital camera.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Trip Diary - II

More pictures - Kanchipuram

Trip Diary - I

Spent the holidays with family get-together and had a gala time visiting Mamallapuram, Kanchipuram and having fun at Marina Beach. Sharing quite a number of pics shot on my digicam.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


Myco-diesel, punditariat, returnment, iCrime

Don't go searching for these words in your dictionary. These are all new words coined very recently. English language is amazing in its elasticity and sponge-like character of absorbing new words quite often.

By the way, myco-diesel is diesel fuel manufactured from a fungus. Punditariat as it implies is the collection of pundits. Returnment is the act of returning back to work after having retired. icrime is theft of a personal media device, particular an iPod or iphone.

Merry Christmas

Happy Christmas to one and all. Let me paraphrase great writer H.G. Wells "The doctrine of the kingdom of Heaven, which was the main teaching of Jesus, is certainly one of the most revolutionary doctrines that ever stirred and changed human thought. It is small wonder if, the world of that time (and of our time, if this writer may add)failed to grasp its full significance, and recoiled in dismay from even a a half apprehension of its tremendous challenges to the established habits and institutions of mankind."

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Poet Extraordinaire

(Photo courtesy Wikipedia)

Today, December 11, is legendary Tamil firebrand poet Subramanya Bharathi's 126th birth anniversary. His dazzlingly brilliant output amazes and rouses legions of readers. Let me just illustrate it with one of his very popular poems, first in Tamil and then its English translation ( courtesy

தேடிச் சோறுநிதந் தின்று
பல சின்னஞ் சிறுகதைகள் பேசி
மனம் வாடித் துன்பமிக உழன்று
பிறர் வாடப் பல செயல்கள் செய்து
நரை கூடிப் கிழப்பருவம் எய்தி
கொடுங் கூற்றுக் கிரையெனப்பின் மாயும்
பல வேடிக்கை மனிதரைப் போலே
நான் வீழ்வே னென்று நினைத்தாயோ?

Scavenging for their daily rice,
And wagging chins on various insignificant fibs
Dejected in spirit, and toiling in vain suffering
Performing deeds that scathe fellow-men
Aging with greyed hair (in due course)
Burdened to hear noxious bile (churned of them)

Like these risible people (who live in vain)

Did you think I would fall suit
And be Struck down?

That being the translation in literal, following is the message in spirit....

Did you think, (Oh Time),
that i too would give up and fall ,
like these risible fools who -
in search of food,
in useless gossip,
in suffering,
in speaking ill and while spoken ill of
get older and die ?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Proximity Award

This award was given generously to me by Artnavy

This award is given to a blog that invests and believes in PROXIMITY - nearness in space, time and relationships! These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in prizes or self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers! Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award.

Here are the eight bloggers that I am passing this award to:
Tinkoo - - he blogs almost exclusively on my favorite genre - science fiction. He is Mumbai-based prolific blogger.
Mavin - Mumbai-based voice of reason
Gopinath - Mumbai-based blogger, humour dripping posts
Mitr - US-based HRD pro who blogs on interesting topics
Neha - blogger par excellence.
Space Bar Literary blogger
Hari Another US-based blogger
Suganthi Chennai-based.

You deserve it ladies and gentleman!

Thursday, December 4, 2008


Gregory Roberts, author of Shantaram, writes in his website :

"I’ll talk about what’s happening in Bombay in the next few lines, but first, before you read any further, I want to ask you, I want to plead with you, to keep the faith with India and the city I love, Bombay. If we continue to visit the country and meet the people, if we spend our time in the beautiful chaos and chaotic beauty, if we spend our money in the bazaars and hotels, if we buy the books by great Indian writers, listen to the music by brilliant Indian composers and musicians, marvel at the splendour of Indian dancers, watch the captivating movies, wonder at the art galleries – in other words, if we go on opening our hearts to the best that India teaches us, the people who did this violence can never win".

Yes, we should refuse to be cowed down by these acts of senseless violence while at the same time strengthening our defenses. Incidentally Shantaram novel was written by the author over beer and dansaks at Cafe Leopold attacked by terrorists.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

En Peyar Escobar

En Peyar Escobar – Pa Raghavan

At the outset, I have to thank Kizhakku Pathippagam, Badri Seshadri and Haranprasanna for providing me this book for review.
Pablo Escobar ! The name may not ring a bell now but his name was on everyone’s lips during the 1980s and early 1990s. This drug warlord virtually ran an empire inside the South American city of Medellin, Colombia and gave sleepless nights to Colombian government and judiciary. Author Pa Raghavan (PaRa) traces Escobar’s growth from a small time car thief to a big time drug czar. The way he graduates from petty criminal to a big time drug smuggler is described in a rather pithy prose. The murder of Colombian presidential candidate Luis Carlos Galán, the bombing of Avianca Flight 203 and DAS building bombing in Bogota in 1989 are all explained in good detail. One marvels at the intelligence and audacity of Escobar in executing and planning his crimes. His rivalry with another deadly drug cartel;. Cali cartel, is also dealt with in great detail.
It is chilling to read the way Escobar equipped and financed the 1985 storming of the Colombian Supreme Court by left wing guerillas of M-19. This resulted in massacre of the half the judges of the court. The way he utilized the leftist revolutionary movements in Colombia for his own ends makes mockery of so-called socialist ideals the left wing movements were fighting for. Reading these senseless acts of terrorism in the backdrop of our own Mumbai terror unleashed by Lashkar terrorists over a period of 60 hours a few days ago (November 26th to November 28th) makes our blood run cold and agonize over these inhuman acts of violence and the meaninglessness of the acts. The most audacious of all is how Escobar surrendered to Colombian government on his own terms and ensconced himself in a plush private prison, La Catedral and continued to guide his cartel in its nefarious acts. Author details American complicity in drug rackets in South American and how later CIA helped Colombian government in killing Escobar in 1993 by providing radio triangulation technology in tracing his whereabouts.
PaRa’s style is quite breezy reminding one often of iconic writer extraordinaire Sujatha. It is indeed difficult to grip reader’s attention when talking about some criminal in a remote South American nation, but author manages to accomplish this quite effectively. The way he engages light humour peppered with sparkling wit is quite enjoyable.

The way he goes about evoking Tamil film lore, sandalwood smuggler Veerappan, Vijayakanth do add pep to the narrative. The pace is never flagging. I managed to finish the book (220 pages) in just three sittings of about 30-45 minutes each.

I cannot help but point out minor mistakes. On page 63 author says Norwegian nations when he must have meant Scandinavian nations. On page 73, Colombian politician Bonilla is wrongly transcribed. In Spanish, it is pronounced Bo-nee-ah. Yes, these are very minor irritants in an otherwise well-written book. Author is very thoughtful in listing out the books and web sites he researched for this book and has listed them out at the end of the book. After reading this version, one cannot wait to lay hands on books like Mark Bowden’s Killing Pablo.

Pa Raghavan has several books to his credit, the most famous being Dollar Desam – political history of USA and Nilamellam Ratham dealing with Israel – Palestine conflict. He is a prolific writer and has written books on various terrorist movements ranging from Aum Shinrikyo in Japan to our current nemesis Lashkar-E-Toiba.

All in all, I heartily recommend this book to anyone interested in world affairs, terrorism and any lay person interested in reading a good book.

Book Title: En Peyar Escobar
Author: Pa Raghavan
Price: ரூ.90
Pages: 224
Publishers: Kizhakku Pathippagam
33/15, Eldams Road
Alwarpet, Chennai 600 018
Phone: 044-42009601/03/04
Fax : 044-43009701

To purchase the book online click here

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