What I learned from my barber?

Barbers are influential people and they are repository of knowledge, though it should have been obvious to me, it never was until today, thanks to my poor observation skills which are legendary amongst my friends.

Barbers are the only people who can operate a knife to your throat and get paid for doing a good job. If we missed the power of knife they hold, we were constantly reminded about Barbers influence through the numerous stories we have read in our childhood. Think of the stories of “Akbar” where we see how the Royal Barber convinces the Emperor to light his favourite minister “Birbal” in a pyre, or how the King’s Barber of King “Krishnadeva Raya” got close to becoming a minister in the royal Courtroom.


All these thoughts came flooding to me as I got up after a two hour facial and hair-cut session with my hairdresser (the modern word for Barbers) Mr.P. He was talking to me about Pigeons racing in Chennai, how difficult it is, at the same time it was popular and lucrative. It seems in his house in K.K.Nagar,Chennai his brother was rearing close to 80 pigeons at any point in time. The birds are kept as love pairs in each cage, they are fed healthy diet of Rice, Wheat, Millets, Almonds & Cashew-nuts. The new born are well nurtured, home trained for fifteen days using a technique called Wings-Tying (இறக்கை கட்டுவது) and carefully water boarded, though these sound barbarous (pun not intended), they  are an essential part to hone the homing skills of the pigeons. There is a vibrant pigeon racing community in India and Chennai has now become the capital for the sport.  In a recent race one of their birds came first in a country wide race. The bird had flown from New Delhi to Chennai in 32 days while the runner up took 60 days for the same distance. The winning bird got sold to a collector for nearly Rs.1.6 Lakhs (USD 2600). There are castes amongst pigeons which are carefully analyzed by a buyer, pedigree counts a lot, offspring of race winning birds being most sought after.

Next time when I go for a haircut, I should remember to opt for a different hairdresser. I hope I get someone whose brother or sister is into drone flying, that’s something I know nothing about and I wish to learn.


Mobile Home (2012)

Today I got to see this Belgian French film “Mobile Home (2012)” in Alliance Française of Madras, screened to celebrate Francophonie Day.


As the film starts we are taken in a fast cycle ride, around traffic islands, sharp bends in the town central, then on to unpaved roads leading to dirt roads, then a screeching halt in front of a farm house by Julien (played by Guillaume Gouix). The story is set in a village in Belgian countryside and is about two childhood friends in their twenties who are trying to find themselves.  Julien works in his father’s farm & barn, taking care of the farm and mostly his aging father recovering from an illness. Simon is trying to piece his life back together after a breakup with his girlfriend in the town, his parents becoming over protective of him after his poor life choices.

Simon & Julien decide to travel around Europe in a RV (Mobile Home), keep working whenever they need money and continue traveling. Since the setting is beautiful countryside, you will be forgiven to be expecting panoramic view of green farms but you will not get them in this film. The film is completely about Julien and Simon, who are struggling to find meaning in their life and their relationship with their love ones. After buying the Mobile Home, they travel short distance from their homes, when the vehicle breaks down and the two stay there for next few weeks working in a farm digging root vegetables, their parents keep visiting them. This distance from home yet connected scenarios, portrays nicely the emotions that the protagonists are going through.

Most of the castings for the roles have been matched perfectly by Director François Pirot. I found the character “Valérie”, a single mother &  accountant of the farm, the love interest to Julien to be cliche that many young man have crush on. Though the film moves slowly you never get tired and that’s a good story telling by the Director, which makes Mobile Home an enjoyable watch.


Focus (2015)

In the hope of watching glamorous Margot Robbie on screen and performance of Will Smith, I went to Focus (2015) today. On those two accounts I was not disappointed by Director Glenn Ficarra & John Requa.

The story is about a master conman played by Will Smith who gets to train Margot Robbie as his assistant during a festival in New Orleans. That’s all there is to say about the film. Compared to recent con artist film by Hollywood “Now You See Me (2013)“, which I thoroughly enjoyed, Focus comes out plain. Focus is certainly not a treat, which it could have been with Will Smith as the protagonist.


Flashback, Gadgets

Apple iMac Summer 2001

Today I had my computer gallery moved from office to my home. After unloading the boxes in my room, I remembered an old iMac G3 being in one of the boxes and got curious to check out whether it still worked. It was a iMac Summer 2001 model, Power PC 600Mhz with 256MB RAM. The machine should have been last switched OFF around 2005, a whole decade ago.

iMac Summer 2001 - 600Mhz PowerPC G3

iMac Summer 2001 – 600Mhz PowerPC G3

I got busy in connecting power cable, USB Keyboard & Mouse, Ethernet LAN and powered ON.  To my surprise the machine booted up after several minutes and I luckily remembered the password to Login, which was totally fluke!

About iMac  - 256MB RAM, 600Mhz Power PC G3

About iMac – 256MB RAM, 600Mhz Power PC G3

I checked out the apps that was there, first was Safari, I was able to  browse websites, even this blog using the Safari 1.x  that was present in the iMac G3.

Safari 1.x displaying this blog in March 2015

Safari 1.x displaying this blog in March 2015

I got curious to try the Internet Explorer 5.2 for Mac, I suppose this was the last version that Microsoft released for Mac, 11 years ago. Even that worked but layout of  this blog was  broken.

Internet Explorer 5.2 for Mac working in March 2015

Internet Explorer 5.2 for Mac working in March 2015

Being adventurous I inserted an audio CD to the CD bay, it went in and that’s all. It didn’t appear in the Desktop, iTunes or Disk Utility. Rebooting machine with Mouse button being pressed or physical insertion of a pin into the right hand side edge of the CD bay, nothing got the CD out. I think I stretched my luck too thin for the day. I could hear wife shouting to me to store away all the boxes and come for Dinner, so I have  shutdown the iMac for one last time, packed the iMac in a carton and dutifully cleared my room. I hope to unbox and switch on the iMac 10 years from now in 2025 and see what happens.


Rajathandhiram (2015)


Rajathandhiram (ராஜதந்திரம்) got released last week, it’s a simple con artist story. I enjoyed last year’s Sathuranga Vettai  which too was a master con story which was well presented, so I was expecting a similar product in Rajathandhiram and Director A.G.Amid hasn’t disappointed on that. Veera and Regina Cassandra starring movie is about how Veera as Arjun gets to rob a jewellery shop in Anna Nagar, Chennai and gets away with Rs.20 Crores. Its not a straight forward robbery, Arjun does it by informing his plan to the shop owner, police and another gangster group, the triple cross is what makes the story interesting. All the main characters have played their individual roles naturally and measured, that adds to the charm of the movie.

In my growing habit of thanking Directors who don’t show a drinking sequence in TASMAC or a love rejection/pathos song or any kind of vulgarity, I wish to thank A.G.Amid for giving a clean family entertainer.

Overall, ராஜதந்திரம் is a light weight yet enjoyable film.