Sunday, December 28, 2008


either i have a memory loss or ghajini is the first hindi movie to be named after a villain. probably the director named it so because the villain had a better phone - the iphone.

only if 'air voice' had a tie-up with 'iphone', aamir's post knock-out-punch life would have been much less painful and less stressful. iphone would have been his savior, and one stop shop remedy for his 'short term memory loss'.

instead of scribbling all over his body, aamir would need just one tatoo - "check iphone - password 0007."

the manager knocks on the door, and would say, "hello sir! i am your manager. please check your facebook."

also, the free cool apps would have attempted to improve aamir's memory power, and make him less impatient. games like 'labyrinth lite' would have held him to his seat at the medical college auditorium, while the movie audience could have heart-fully savored the-hot-but-cannot-act jiah khan in the 'latoo' song.

google maps would have rendered the street view of mumbai. aamir could have done better things, like dance to another number, instead of mapping out mumbai on his wall.

sanjay singhania could have gone green, and in lieu of writing those bulky diaries, he could have blogged, from his iphone, at .

hey murugadoss, had you directed iGhajini, steve jobs would have definitely bought the overseas rights, and dubbed the movie in english.

memento chritopher nolan's understand did not folks who - would have made fresh memories of 'short term memory loss', and iphone sales would have sky rocketed.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

all's well that ends well is good to fail.

my failure to get into "the daily show" the last time, got me tickets to watch the live recording of today's show from the vip stand.

in fact, i had two extra vip tickets that i offered to few of my friends. none of them took it. some were not ready to leave work early, some had prior appointments, while a couple of them asked, "who is jon stewart?".

the show was hilarious, and jon stewart is a rock star. his wit, humor and presence of mind is just 'out of the world'. before the recording started, he took few questions from the audience.

someone asked, "can i get to intern on your crew?".

the host replied, "sorry. i don't know anyone on the show. anyways, don't take up internship here. they won't pay you, and you will be sodomized, like in the white house."

damn the show director, the camera does not cover the audience. so, hear me laugh in tonight's edition of "the daily show". if you miss it on comedy central, you can catch it tomorrow on

Thursday, November 20, 2008


I had wanted to pen this anecdote for a long time. My company magazine's group members asked me for a write up on Thanksgiving, and I decided it is time to pen the long pending thingie. Here it goes -

Thanksgiving , though a gerund, must be practiced in life as a present continous verb. One must be thanks-giving throughout the year, and throughout one's life - even for the small things that gives happiness, joy and comfort. Enjoy an early morning walk, a sunrise, a full moon over the brooklyn bridge, a view of new york's night skyline.

One of the things that I am thankful for is the wealth of friends that I have. Here is a glimpse of the wealth that I possess.

Circa 2000. Yours truly will be graduating from college in about a month, and my first job at Wilco was waiting for me.

At this time, I was invited to Hyderabad for a "One day tour of Wilco". Wilco had sent over first class train ticket for the event.

As I was prepping for the trip, my friend Gunda (we call him Gunda, which means fatso in tamil), said, "I will give you company on the trip. We can checkout Hyderabad after your Wilco tour."

I was thrilled, and nodded.

Gunda purchased sleeper class tickets for the trip on the same train that I was taking. On the day of travel, when we reached the station, we saw that the first class coach was just about a mile away from Gunda's sleeper coach.

In true camaraderie spirit, I dumped my luggage in the first class, and joined Gunda in his coach. The train pulled out of the station at 4:30 PM.

At around 7:00 PM, the train pulled into the first station from the array of stations it had to stop before reaching Hyderabad.

I said to Gunda, "Let me go to my compartment. Lest, the efficient Ticket Checker would sell off my berth for some pocket money."

"What about dinner? ", blurted out Gunda. His first love in life was always food.

"In about an hour food will be served on the train. You take the food, and come over to the first class coach. Let us have dinner together. Since there is no throughway to the first class from the sleeper class coaches, wait for the next station. It should be coming around 8:15pm, I guess.", thus I instructed.

He was vigorously nodding.

After a brisk mile walk on the platform, I got into my coach, and was happy to figure out that my seat was not siphoned off.

At 8:00, food was served. I was waiting for the train to pull into a station so that Gunda can join me.

It was 8:30, and there was no drop in the pace of the train. But hunger was pacing up. The station, that I thought would be arriving at 8:15pm, either didn't exist or the train driver decided to skip the stop.

9:00 pm, and there was no sight of any station. I gave in to hunger.

I was getting ready to hit the sack, and the train pulled into a station. The grandfather clock on the station wall was displaying to the world that it was quarter past 10. I got down from the train to stretch myself.

"Gunda must be fast asleep", I thought. "Its no use walking a mile to confirm this!"

After the grandfather clock's longer hand traversed 12 degrees, the train signalled that it was bored of the station, and would like to move on.

Hearing the cry, I was about to hop onto the train. At this moment, I noticed that someone was jostling his way through the crowd on the platform. He was moving in a funny fashion. He was holding out his hands, in a curved shape, and was balancing something between his two palms.

The figure, as it drew closer, surprised me. It turned out to be Gunda.

Gunda was huffing and puffing as he approached. I was more shocked to see the thing he was holding between his hands.

He gave a wide grin, put one leg on the coach's stairway, turned and said, "Come lets eat."

My heart sank.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

sad moments

the market conditions, the unpredictability, the layoffs ... it sucks!

"... hum sab tho rangmanch ki katputhilyan hi jinki dor uparwaale ki ungliyon me bandhi hi. kab kaun kaise utega, yeh koi nahi batha saktha hi...."

family, friends and time should help!

Friday, October 17, 2008

lunch conundrum

how much ever advancements man has made, come lunch time, he gets down to the age old act of food gathering. i don't carry lunch to work, and every day I try to resolve the conundrum - 'where do i go?'

where do i go?
the question i know,
the answer i don't,
where do i go?

where do i go?
let me first hit the road,
decide on the go,
where do i go?

where do i go?
not this one - had here just yesterday,
that place done on friday,
where do i go?

where do i go?
at last, as usual, arbitrarily choose one from the finite set,
now at the very least a place less, tomorrow when i think,
where do i go ?

Thursday, October 9, 2008

i am still here ...

my little blog fan base made me happy by inquiring about the absence of yours truly from the blog-o-sphere.

a project with crazy deadlines has kept me away from madraskaapi for almost a month now.

and to top that, the financial market is giving a roller coaster ride to one and many. the ride is more thrilling, scary and unpredictable than any hollywood movie released thus far.

governments across the world are working long hours, and on weekends, and coming up with EBFs (emergency bug fixes) or band-aids every other day. but the indexes have not seized their downward trend.

ask a software engineer, his/her panacea would be - let's restart/bounce the indexes.

latest fix - the governments in the western european countries, and the US government have started taking big stakes in banks, thus, nationalizing them. in other words - governments are going the socialist way. nehru mama would be having a hearty laugh up in the heavens, and would be saying to rajaji "naan appave sonen ella…!" (I told you…!).

in all this melee, I carved out a few hours to go to a live recording of Jon Stewart's "the Daily show". i had booked the tickets online (they are free) about 3 months back.

the ticket said, the shows are always overbooked. so, turn up at least by 4:00 pm. it also said, the gates will open at 5:15 pm, and the recording would start around 5:30 pm, and complete by 7:30 pm.

turned up at the gates at 4:00 pm, and at 5:10 pm the organizers approached us and said, "sorry! better luck next time."

as we started to drag ourselves towards a subway station, a organizer shouted out, "they are looking for audiences for 'the colbert report'. its just 2 blocks away!". the "the daily show" throw away crowd started walking towards the coal-bear guy.

few of the folks got lucky. i being unlucky that day, continued to be unlucky, and took a bus home after a 3 hour stand-up exercise.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

game, set, match - roddick

my teammate called in sick yesterday, and gave me his two tickets to the US open round 4 game between roddick and gonzalez. i thanked the virus (hope my teammate doesn't read this blog!), my stars, and cursed myself for not taking any action even after the maria maria incident.

the atmosphere at the flushing meadows was reminiscent of a mela. well lit stadium under a clear night sky, XXXXXXXL tv screens outside the courts, beautiful fountains, confused staff, delayed schedule were all part of it.

hundreds of people were court hopping to catch glimpse of games that were simultaneously in progress. in transit, one could pick food and drinks from one of the many food stalls that were put up. desi food was being served at new delhi masala ishtall. the long queues at the stalls didn't daunt the food lovers.

the tickets, 60$ a piece, were for the seats in what i would call a vertigo-zone, where neither a tennis ball nor a tv camera could reach. but watching the game live on the center court (arthur ashe stadium), with all the fan fare, was exciting.

the desi couple (dc) sitting next to me, and the referee of the game added humorous touch to the evening.

the dc were giving running commentary about the types, make, intricacies of kati rolls that they were hogging. while roddick was firing aces at 130 miles per hour, the dc were going strong at 6 rolls per set. when the last set was underway, the dc ran out of rolls. after some heated discussion, they left the court, never to return.

"thank you", "silence please", "", "gracias" - few of weapons employed by the referee to silence the crowd. worst, when roddick was serving at 6-2, 6-4, 5-1, and the crowd was going berserk, the referee yelled 'just one more game'! gonzalez must sue him for match fixing.

gosh! "game, set, match - roddick", was declared within 90 minutes of the start of the show. had the 11th seeded gonzalez played like a 11th seed or roddick played a bit like the 11th seed, the match would have been a better paisa vasool. but, as always, there is next time.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


foreword : read the following lines slowly. if you are in a hurry, come back later and read the blog.

the beauty. have i seen her somewhere?
why is she approaching me? was my stare obvious?
will the.. she inquired something !
am i drunk? what did she say?
more of listening, less of staring...
she has a beautiful nose - long, slender, pointed.
stop. listen.
she is silent. i guess its my turn to speak.
i am sorry...what ?
what... what what ?
oh boy. she is loud.
i thought ...wait. am i thinking or am i speaking.
i thought you asked something. i spoke.
her hazel eyes!
idiot. keep listening lest you want to miss her.
oops! sorry. btw, what time is it ?
why the hell did i ask that question ?
7:00 am.
oh shit! now i remember. she is miss.wednesday.
i have a 8 o'clock to go to. wake up!
i hate early morning meetings.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

maria maria

maria sharapova was here at south seaport at tennis ball's throw distance from my work place. the tennis star was here to launch a diamond studded cannon camera that is worth $10000.

got to drool at the her from a close span of 10 ft.

damn! i did not have a camera with me, and could manage couple of low resolution shots with the phone camera. i must start having a camera at my workplace.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

how good is a bum ?

the other day, my counterpart in a downstream system was explaining a new requirement to me over phone, "assume i am a bum, i should have access to ... ."

i put the phone on mute, and started laughing.

that day i came to know of the fact that a business-unit-manager, in short, is a bum.

i wondered what sort of jokes/humor would be passed around by the sub-ordinates and the superiors about the bums. my mind raced, and came up with a few funny sequences. here is one of them!

a business-unit-manager calls up support team, and says "hi! i am a bum, and i am not able to see the trade."

the smart support guy, who knows that manager does not have permissions to see the trade, replies, "of course! you will not be able to."


"because you are a bum."

Monday, July 28, 2008

a mastercard weekend

toll on garden state parra-slow-way [very slow way] - 2 $ 70 cents
go-karting at mayville - 35 $
30 minute jet ski @ wildwood beach - 65 $
weekend rentals to dollar-rent-a-car for a dabba car that even a dollar store parking lot would reject undoubtedly - 200 $
a krishnamurthy, the care taker at econo lodge in marmora, welcoming us with a 'vaango, payanam eppadi irundadhu ?' [welcome, how was your trip] - 250 $
the group coming to consensus on a restaurant to have food - chanceless
driving home safely from cape may, on garden state parkway, in the thunderstorm with visibility of just about 10 feet - priceless

Monday, July 7, 2008

karthik is my name!

when my parents christened me karthik, they had thought it was a unique name. coincidentally, this unique thought occurred to quite a good number of parents in the late 70s and the early 80s. end result, scores of karthiks were released into this world.

whatever school i attended, coaching class i went to, there was a minimum of two karthiks on the roll-call. the max number was at my college that had 4 karthiks in the class. i did not dare to take the count across the 2000 batch, or across my college. definitely karthik would have made it to the podium at the most-common-name-contest.

class was divided into groups of 4 or 5 to do experiments in the labs. my group consisted of karthik, karthik, karthik and kiran.

even though karthik's spelling varied from karthik to kaarthik to karthick to kartic, the name was pronounced one and the same. in order to distinguish the beings, some characteristic or the other was used to qualify the karthiks. for eg - nettai (tall), bodhai (drug- the guy was always in a trance), dumm (cigarette), delhi, current.

year 2008. i am attending evening accounting classes at new york university. the strength of the class is 20, and the only other desi in the class is also named karthik. now what are the odds?

Monday, June 16, 2008

dasavatharam review-ed

a genuine effort from kollywood at something big and different.

+ kamal's multiple roles and voice modulations. the characters of fletcher - the ex-cia agent, balram naidu and boovaragan have been very well done.
+ racy screenplay. please leave your brains at home though!
+ immense effort has been put into making the sets and the visual effects.
- bad graphics.

catch the movie at a good theater so that the decently made graphics does not get degraded any further!

trivia : ten avatars - rangarajan nambi, govindrajan naicker, president bush, fletcher, japanese kung-fu master, balram naidu, avtaar singh, krishnaveni paati (grandma), vincent boovaragan, khalif ulla.

Monday, June 9, 2008

thunderstorm memories

the thunderstorm, here today at hoboken, for some reason brought back memories of my childhood days spent in madurai and madras. whenever there was a thunderstorm, the following things were executed with alacrity...

> scurry up to the balcony to remove clothes hung-up on ropes for drying
> get the bicycle indoors, put cover over the scooter parked out in the open
> get a torch/candle into vicinity
> remove the antenna cable from back of the tv
> unplug power chord on any recently bought electricals/electronics
> make kappals (boats) out of paper from used rough notebooks

after the prep work was done, me and my brother would wait in anticipation of a power cut. power cut implies books down, some extra time for chit-chat with friends next door.

electricity board would hardly disappoint us!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


while roaming the streets of Manhattan over the long weekend, I met telugu movie star Venkatesh. he was shooting for his movie 'chintakaya ravi' at union square, new york.

he was happy to stare into the camera with us.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

being civil is no good!

circa - somewhere in the early 90s. like any above-average i.q son of a middle class man in chennai, i too had to choose between two career paths. a- becoming a doctor, b- engineering. biology was a subject i hated, so it was hobson's choice. with time it metamorphosed into an ambition.

circa 1996. i flunked jee, and the gates to the mecca of engineering were closed for me. in spite of good scores in the 12th exam, I could not get a 'free-seat'* in any of the top engineering colleges in tamil nadu. reason - i was an academic outcast of the tamilnadu education system on two counts. first : the cbse tag, second : i belong to section of population whose ancestors misinterpreted the vedic varna system.

I was left with the ambition and zero admits!

nowhere to go, and the thought of burdening appa's monthly middle-class budget with the expenses of a 'payment seat'** was playing on my mind. i was now desperately trying to figure out options in other states and union territories.

i stumbled upon the entrance exam conducted by P.E.C (pondicherry engineering college). did pretty well in the entrance test. but, quota had another quota to play in my life. this time it was pondicherry resident quota.

in the words of the the admission committee, "congrats! you have a very good score. we can give you only civil as you are a non-resident of pondy."

though i did not desire to be civil-ised***, this chance appeared as the last hay of hope tying me to my ambition. i decided to go for it.

after the decision was made, i was back in chennai with a wee-bit of sense of achievement and loads of happiness.

as part of the prep work to leave for the new world, i went to mount road to shop with my uncle. enroute to a shop near tarapore towers, we ran into a friend of uncle, o.-something. from his looks uncle's friend o (u.f.o) looked educated.

after initial exchange of pleasantries, the two friends got into a banter.

suddenly my uncle decided to do some peela (show-off) by introducing his to-be-engineer marumaan (nephew).

uncle started, "hey! meet karthik."

u.f.o to me, "hello karthik!".

I smiled back.

"you know what! karthik is going for engineering. he has chosen p.e.c. ", declared my uncle.

"chosen? ", i said loudly to myself. i was continuing my smile though.

"oh! pondicherry engineering-a", cried out the excited u.f.o. "super-ba! congrats", he continued. his face lit up like a thousand watts tube. the customary question followed, "what branch?".

"civil!", i said.

the answer pulled the plug on the tube. u.f.o's face shrunk, and he retorted in a derogatory tone, "...seeee-villll-aa...". He made 'civil' sound like the longest word in english.

my smile dried up. as i was groping for an answer, i was hoping that the man-hole behind him would pop out its corporation lid, and consume the anti-civil fellow.

as no such miracle happened, u.f.o continued, "couldn't you at the least get an instrumentation or mechanical seat?"

i do not remember the rest of the conversation. but to this day i have not forgotten the shrunken face, the tone and the pronunciation that was used to echo my branch name!

*free seat - a misnomer to denote an engineering seat that comes at a non-exorbitant amount.

**payment seat- a term used in tamil nadu education system where a seat is acquired by an individual in self-financing engineering college by paying a lump-sum. a little portion goes to the government exchequer, and the rest to the college. this is not the end-all of the fees that the individual pays to the college. the college is given multiple degrees of freedom to demand for more fees, with sky being the limit. i always felt such colleges should be called 'student-financing', and not 'self-financing'.

*** this was not an era where the equation [ engineer = software engineer ] held good. where ? can be computer, electronics, electrical, mechanical, civil, nothing, something, anything, balderdash.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

new tamil new year!

if you had celebrated the tamil new year on april 13th this year, you had violated a tamil nadu government rule. confused?

the dmk government, under the leadership of mr.karunanidhi, passed a resolution recently to shift the tamil new year to january 14th to make it coincide with the farmer's festival of pongal. it is no more 'chitrai varsha pirappu', it is 'thai (thy) varsha pirappu'.

the changing governments in tamil nadu like to bring about change in the life of people. so, they change the name of the city, name of roads, name of transportation services, name of the buildings, change the changes done by the old governments, and now - the date of a festival. not sure where this is going to stop!

the political commentator cho remarked - 'i suspect that those who endorsed the government's renaming quest must all be dmk supporters. if this government can do this, it can also announce new names for all the 12 months after periyar, anna, stalin, azhagiri, kanimozhi and so on...'

the latest change has brought about confusion amongst the tamil people! they have to choose between the age old tradition of celebrating new year in april, and the government declared tamil new year. even worse, most of my friends here in the 'uzhavar sandhai' (US) were oblivious to the change.

when april 13th arrived this year, people took the side of the tradition. the tamil television channels, barring the dmk's mouthpiece (note - karunanidhi tv and not sun tv), followed suit.

it would be fun to see what happens when pongal arrives. will people celebrate tamil new year again? according to me, only good thing about the new rule is the the fall back option it has created for celebrating tamil new year.

what is the long term solution? my bet is on change. when the government changes, the new government would bring about their own list of changes. hopefully, the new year date is present on the list!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

the new 'golden temple'

during my march 2008 visit to chennai, i heard about this new 'golden temple' in sripuram. i decided to visit this place, and oh boy! it turned out to be a good decision.

sripuram is a tiny village, about 12 kms from vellore town, tamilnadu. its now being made famous by this golden temple with government plying 'golden temple' specials. it is a 3 hour drive from chennai on the chennai-bangalore highway.

all electronics, including cellphones, cameras, ipods are confiscated at the entrance to the temple. also, one can find a huge canteen that resembles a marriage-hall at the entrance. the temple is approximately 1.5 kms from here. seriously!

the walk to the temple is scenic with loads of greenery, and water fountains and flowing water. after a 400m walk, one enters a star shaped corridor that surrounds the temple. as one walks the star, one can fill one's eyes with the beauty of the temple. the corridor leads into a circular corridor that encompasses a pool of water. at the center of this water pool resides the Goddess Lakshmi, called Narayani Devi.

the sanctum-sanctorum is made from pure gold. the yellow metal is used liberally on the temple gopuram, pillars, ceiling and the sides.

the temple is constructed, managed and maintained by 30-odd years old shri narayani amma of sri narayani peedam.

overheard facts : temple is built on 100 acres of land, 600 crores rupees was the expenditure, 1.5 tones of gold used, 400 goldsmiths and copper smiths finished task in 6 years, the temple structure made out of copper structure on which 9 layers of gold was draped.

some tips for the visit : take the 250 Rs route to save on some time and also to get a closer n longer look at the deity, visit temple on a weekday, choose twilight time-frame for the visit get to see the temple in natural light and man-made light under a night sky as well. wheelchairs are available for elderly at the entrance, elderly can use the short cut route to the garbha-graha.

the temple is a man-made beauty. greenery surrounding the temple adds to the beauty. next time you visit chennai, do plan a trip to this place!