Beauty of Libraries

In my view libraries are sacred places of human civilization worthy of spending most of our waking hours. Prior to digital revolution library buildings have got lot bulk share of funds from library corpus, sometimes more than the books they hold within them. If you have seen some of these exquisite libraries around the world, the artwork on their walls, the wood carvings you will see that they are work of great human art, worthy of spending and preserving. Unfortunately most of these libraries are not open to general public, their access is limited  to those in power and scholars (how do I become a scholar without reading?) and those that are open are far from where you live. An example is Chennai’s Connemara library heritage section – the artwork and woodwork in the place is supposed to outstanding, but no public is allowed inside it on the pretext of preserving it!.

Thanks to Digital Revolution most of the books ever published are (slowly) becoming available online (most for free) by efforts like Project Gutenberg, Open LibraryHathi Trust and Project Madurai. For seeing and enjoying the artwork we are getting to see the photographs online and dream. Here is a collection of breathtaking photographs of 62 libraries around the world from Mentalfloss site.

To bring these images closer to you everyday, you can install the photographs as wallpapers of your Windows PC (Windows 7 or 8). To do that go to this page at Microsoft and download a Windows theme aptly titled “The Beauty of Books” theme. It has 13 images, my favourites are following two.

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Podi Idlis on the go

The other day I read in The Hindu Business Line paper about a food startup Idli Factory offering ready to eat fresh Idlis that are boxed and ready to go. The startup has been founded by R U Srinivas who I knew earlier through my cousin brother. RU (as he is called) was earlier CEO of Caliber Point (the BPO arm of Hexaware – the IT Services company), so I was surprised to see him take up something on a completely different industry – food.


Today while shopping in T.Nagar Brown Tree shop for Dried Figs and Walnuts I saw a packet of The Idli Factory. It was of their Podi Idli (Chilli & Oil smeared on steamed rice Idlis). It was a pack of 6 Bar shaped Idlis costing Rs.50. Each pack comes with a making date and time (mine was 12th October 2014 8AM) and it was good to be eaten within 24 hours from that. Otherwise they are fresh, no preservatives (with oil and chilli acting as natural preservatives during the day) and is  ready to go. You buy it, open the pack, unwrap the butter paper, pick up the bars and eat it – that’s all. Nothing to mix or prepare or re-heat.

Podi Idlis are the staple food for many South Indians especially Tamilians when travelling by train or on road for day-trips. When my family was vacationing in Shimla earlier this year, we went for a canoe trip down River Sutlej and I requested Oberoi WildFlower to pack Podi Idlis in our Picnic basket.

Coming back to Madras Bars, that’s what The Idli Factory calls their Podi Idlis, they were simply delicious. Right mix of Chilli Hotness, Turmeric, Dal and it was soft even when I was consuming it at 6PM now. Great going R U  & team. All the best.

The box in the back carries their version of History of Idlis (below), I had earlier quoted from a book I read that the steaming technology probably came in from Indonesia Kedli.


Navarathri exhibition by Women Self Help Group


For last few years Tamil Nadu government’s department in-charge (Tamil Nadu Women Development Corporation) has been organizing Navarathri Exhbition selling Golu dolls, Organic produces and Handloom items. The stalls are run by Women Self-Help Groups (SHGs) and the venue is the sprawling Mother Teresa Women’s Complex, Nungambakkam. Last year itself wife wanted to visit the exhibition to buy Golu dolls but we managed to come only this year that too on the last day of the exhibition. The venue is surprisingly well maintained and adequate parking facilities as well – a surprise for the place being just behind Valluvar Kottam, Nungambakkam, Chennai.


There were over 40 stalls from SHGs from around Tamil Nadu, covering almost all districts of the state. We went around the stalls and I bought Organic Custard Apple (my favourite), Wife got  Tamarind paste and we looked at buying few dolls but delayed it to next year!



யான் 2014

யான் (Yaan) என்றால் நான் என்று பொருள், ஆமாம் இந்தப் படத்தைப் பார்க்க போனது நான் தான். அதைப் பார்த்து அனுபவித்ததும் நானே தான். யான் யான் யானே தான்!

இந்தப் படத்தை நான் எதிர்ப்பார்த்து போனதற்கு  காரணம் ஹலோ எஃப். எம் தான். நீங்க நல்லா வருவீங்க நல்லாஆ வருவீங்க!. காந்தி ஜெயந்தி அன்று காலை 7 மணிக்கு (விடுமுறை நாளில் அவ்வளவு சீக்கிரம் எழுந்தது என் தப்பு தான்)  நடிகர் ஜீவா மற்றும் நடிகை துளசி யான் படம் பற்றி பேசிய  பேட்டி இருந்தது, அதில் ஜீவா தான் தேடி வேண்டி வேண்டி எற்றுக்கொண்ட படம் இது என்றார். இதுவரை ஓரளவு நல்ல படங்களில் நடித்த ஜீவாவிற்கு என்ன நடந்ததோ இதில் நடிக்க, அவரின் முந்தைய படமான “என்றென்றும் புன்னகை” கூட நன்றாக இருந்தது.  படமுழுக்க அவரும் இயன்றளவு கஷ்டப்பட்டு பார்க்கிறார் (பணம் கொடுத்து பார்க்கும் நாமும் தான்) ஆனால் ஒரு பருப்பும் வெகவில்லை (நம் கையில் இருந்த வெந்த பாப்கானை தவிர).

அப்படி என்ன தான் இருந்தது யான் படத்தில். விஷயமே படத்தில் ஒன்றுமே இல்லை என்பது தான் என் புலம்பலுக்கு காரணம். காமெடி இல்லை, லாஜிக் என்பது கொஞ்சம் கூட இல்லை, அருகில் பார்க்க விரும்புமளவு அழகான கதாநாயகி கூட இல்லை, பாட்டிற்கு ஒத்துப் போகும் காட்சியமைப்பும் இல்லை.

இயக்குனர் ஐயா, அது எப்படி Cliche (சலிப்பு தரும்) என்று சொல்லப்படும் அனைத்து விசயங்களையும் பட்டியலிட்டு படத்தில் சேர்த்துள்ளீர்கள்?

நான் சொல்லவதை நம்பவில்லையா. எங்கள் முன் வரிசையில் இருந்த பத்து பேரும் இடைவேலைக்கு பின் காணவேயில்லை.

என்ன கொடுமை சரவணன் இதெல்லாம்?


The story starts with a terrorist being killed in police encounter, with the hero saving heroine live scene. They fall in love. Heroine’s father objects by ridiculing the hero that he is unemployed, father is encouraged by her Aunt’s son who is in lust for her. On rage, Hero accepts a job in Balusistan – a strict law following Islamic nation. On arrival is arrested for carrying drugs and punished for beheading in public. Hero’s grandmother goes to hospital, for saving her Heroine goes and saves Hero. In the meanwhile Hero fights inmates, prison warden in Prison, exposes the terrorist to the world and kills him in a desert chase. Finally crosses two poles in desert land marked “Border” (otherwise we will miss it you know). END.

முதல் சீனில் தெரியாமல் ஸ்லோ மோஷன் நல்லாயிருக்குனு சொன்னதை கேட்டுவிட்டு இயக்குனர் படத்தையே ஸ்லோ மோஷன்ல கொடுத்துவிட்டார். நானும் திரும்பி திரும்பி பார்த்தேன் இயக்குனர் மட்டும் கண்ணலப்பட்டுருந்தா, போதும் எல்லாதையும் நிறுத்திபோம் என்று சொல்லியிருப்பேன்.


இந்த படத்தைப் பற்றி மேலும் தெரிந்துக் கொள்ள காஷ்யம் வித் பாஸ்கீ‘யின் திரை விமர்சனத்தை இங்கே பார்க்கலாம்.

Driving License Renewal

I got my driving license in 1994, which was soon after I joined college. It was an exciting moment then, after I successfully proved to the inspector that I can bend/turn in a S shape a Car and a motorbike. I qualified for Light Motor Vehicle (LMV) and Motor Cycle (M/CYCL) categories. I had learnt to drive a car and bike  few years before that on my own, by starting/reversing/turning/parking the car inside my residential campus. In 1994 I don’t remember writing any written test.  The license I got then was valid for a period of 20 years. The expiry date comes during last week of next month (October 2014) and I had to renew it now.

I am a member of Automobile Association of South India (AASI). As a recognised body by the Government I got the renewal forms from AASI, filled them up, got the medical certificate from my family doctor and submitted two days back to AASI along with two photos of myself. They charged Rs.400 or so which includes Government of Tamil Nadu fees. They asked me to report to Regional Transport Office (RTO) near my house at K.K.Nagar at 10:30AM yesterday which I did. The AASI coordinator paid the fees and gave me the forms back. I submitted it to a verification desk, a wait of ten minutes followed, my name was called and the documents along with my current license stapled was given back to me. I was asked to join in back of a Queue for taking my photograph and signature in an electronic capture device. The queue was orderly (which is uncommon in a government office in India), there were chairs to sit and the queue moved briskly.

I  saw no touts plying their trade openly or inside the RTO building, I couldn’t confirm/deny whether they were present outside the gates. When I was sitting in the Queue I could see/hear the RTO officer politely and firmly telling a person (who appeared to be a retired Police officer)  that he can’t help him to jump the queue as there are many people standing there. Surprise, Surprise!

Coming back to the Queue, in about 20-25 minutes my turn came, the photograph was done. I was asked to turn up in the evening and collect it. I met the AASI coordinator he said he will collect in the evening on my behalf and I can collect the same today from AASI office which I did.


Now I have my license renewed for next 10 years. I spent Rs.400 and about 45 minutes of time for the process. Simple & clean. I  wish more Government departments and processes work this smooth.