The 50th Post – 1 Year of Blogging Here and a Silent Goodbye

Come this December 26th, just a day after Christmas, this blog would be one year old. It’s a week from now, but I thought, what the heck. Why wait so long? ;)

Mine’s a silent little blog and quite obviously it’s a silent anniversary here. I’m not sure if anyone would get to read this but one year of blogging has taught me so many things – not just about the very aspect of blogging, but about life itself, in general.

Consistency (or the lack of it), unexpected visitor counts, good-will, hasty blogging, and emotional outbursts – the list looks endless. ScribbledHere has taught me more about myself than anyone ever has – and has proved my fears right about myself. As a person, I’ve degraded, come down and in fact fallen flat of my values.

This blog is a decent replica of what I am in this world – little, known-to-a-few, unknown-to-most, often silly and stupid, sometimes funny and humorous, scarcely thoughtful and most importantly, normal. I see myself as friendly but I can hardly be a judge of my own characters so I let people around me decide that.

As far as the blog goes, it sure is friendly to those who are ready to read something – just to spend the time they’ve got!

Here’s the tale of the blog, and my relationship with it over the year.

The History of this Little Blog

It all started in the name of God. I being an atheist, that should somewhat be surprising, but if it isn’t, never mind ;)

I started the blog on the Tumblr platform. I loved the simplicity of blogging there.

Over there, what began as a mirror of incidents of my life soon turned out into a storyboard for my thoughts on various things in our lives. A little later, it transformed into a humorous (if you’ll permit me to call that) account of little things that happen around us.

Oh, I also blogged about what I am, and how it affects my life.

It was only in the month of October that I migrated to WordPress – a decision that I continue to regret. WordPress is great, and I mean nothing against it – but it’s not my cup of tea. I love lean, simple and minimalist things. In comparison to Tumblr, WordPress is heavy and complex.

The Stats

I never tracked my blogs visitor-counts when I was on Tumblr, even though I used to track other blogs before. But moving to WordPress provided a built-in insight regarding the number of visits this blog gets everyday.

As of now, the count stands at 457 (total) – and that’s excluding my own visits to my blog. The 457 is from October of this year, which means something thrice of that (1200+) could be the total visits to the blog (both on Tumblr and WordPress).

At 50 posts an year, that’s a little above 2 blogs-posts every month. A bi-monthly affair, eh? ;)

The IndiBlogger Experience

Of all the things that felt nice about blogging, getting to be a part of the IndiBlogger network is something that I will cherish forever. I happened to attend their Chennai Meet, I happened to get more blogging friends and I began tweeting a lot. Those things have slacked down for now, but I hope to be back on the scene sometime soon.

Lazy Facts

I have been very inconsistent when it comes to blogging. There have been months when I haven’t posted anything (April and May) and there have been months I posted up to 8 stories here. Here’s some lazy stat you could go after, if you’re bored to the core ;)

  • September was the most productive month, with up to 8 posts that month.
  • October arrives second – with 7 posts that month.
  • November and January get the third place with 6 posts.
  • Of all the posts, the first post remains my top favorite, followed by A Tale of Special Siblings (a relation that I cherish to this date and a person I love the most, despite all odds arising out of my stupidity). I also love this post here which was in reverence to three superstars – Rajni, Rahman and Sachin.
  • The Great Secret Behind Chennai Roads (posted when the blog was running on Tumblr) fetched me about 50 Facebook likes and for a moment, it spread like wildfire after Iyshwarya, Arunan, Paulson and Sudhir liked it. (This was a time when what a person likes showed up on the news feed of their friends). In fact, the spread was thanks largely due to Arunan’s and Iyshwarya’s share on their profile.
  • The blog recorded the death of the kittens and the solitude of Chute – the grey kitten that has now become a cat but still cradles in our laps in the mornings and evenings.
  • The month of June was the most emotionally challenging one – and the blog seems to reflect it bluntly.

Rather than calling WordPress a reason for quitting Scribbled Here, I should rather term it as my incapacity to cope up with the slow and needless formalities of this platform. I am moving over to a newer blog soon, on Tumblr for sure.

To sum it up all, it’s not exactly a happy ending but as the saying goes, we choose to see the brighter side.

Qualities that I held dear have diminished in me. I have become more of what I don’t want to be – but all these things are clear only because I have had a glimpse of what I have been through, via the blog posts I’ve written.

It’s a silent reminder that I still have a lot of things to work on. Yet, that’s a silent celebration.

There are hundreds of people to thank. Mentioning names would certainly mean I will miss certain names – which I feel would be the gravest mistake I could ever commit. Yet, I am tempted to mention the names of people I would like to thank very much for making my blog – and the experience of blogging – a pleasant one.

Gayathree, Iyshwarya, Sudhir, Arunan, Rakesh, Geetha M, Paulson, Athulya, Vijay, Arun, Jignesh, one more Sudhir, Sujan, Thamizhinian, Felix, Vinoth, Rohit and more. As said before, there are plenty more – and I am really grateful and thankful to each one of them.

It’s time. Goodbye Scribbled Here.

Mouna Guru – A Silent Tale of Kollywood Storylines

At the outset, I must thank my friend Sudhir, for booking the tickets and taking me to the movie. But for him, I’d not be writing this.

First off, this is not a review of the movie. I dont ever remember having reviewed a movie – and I find myself faltering even at the thought of doing so. This is my personal take on what the film – it’s storyline, cinematography and artistic elements – speaks of the age of maturity in Tamil cinema.

Ages ago, a film without at least 3 dance-numbers was hardly imagined – and for people who imagined stories like that, producers shook their heads. We’ve come a long way from that – but still, you know, there are elements of a film that are going to be here for long.

Mouna Guru, if there was one word I’d pick to describe, would be described as different.

It’s not just about songs, usual commercial elements and stuff, though. It would still be a great flick, commercially!! But there’s something about the film that speaks a very positive tale of Kollywood storylines – and that is precisely what prompts me to write this.

Let’s start from where movies usually start – script.

Scripting A Thriller – Without the Side-effects
Thrillers are not new to Tamil cinema. But thrillers of the MounaGuru type are.

Think about Easan, or Yudham Sei, or if you remember, Satham Podaadhe. These are not commercial flicks in the “commericial” way of speaking but these films are commercial-material for sure. MounaGuru is standing proof that Tamil cinema is breeding it’s own master storytellers who can produce storylines that are not only gripping – but are well adapted to our culture, demography and taste.

One negative aspect of Tamil cinema has been adrenaline-triggered storylines which often defy logic, commonsense or physics or all of them. But tales like MounaGuru are those little blobs of positivism in story-telling that are truly realistic.

The Integral Factor – Music
I have been trained in music for sometime so I tend to hear the film than see it. Thaman had already made one of the finest impressions in me with his score for a documentary (Mittai Veedu, directed by Balaji Mohan). His score has this strength, and life, that is often found wanting in many of the present-crop composers. As the movie began, music took me by surprise. In these modern times when appreciation for background scores has become prevalent and common, Thaman is surely going to make a huge mark in the industry – or at least, I hope so. We need thinkers like him amongst composers.

That’s another wonderful part of storytelling that has continuously grown in its magnificence and subtler aspects. While the big-banner films with their big-banner composers still remain the often-spoken about, films like Nadodigal (music director, Sundar C Babu) have proved that the background-score of a film is definiltey witnessing a revolution in terms of ethnicity and importance.

MounaGuru’s songs are not widely different or unique – or perhaps, they did not register a chime in me – but the background-score is definitely a work that should be commended. There are ample silences – and there are ample sounds at apt frames.

Hero Is Not Superhuman
Now, this simple aspect, we’ve all been missing for decades. Heros take on dozens of well-built goons single-handedly. A very normal Sam Anderson (the Tamil guy) is far more powerful than your Superman – and we’ve been quite okay with it for all this time. It was time realistic protagonists came up on the screen, right? No. We are still quite far from that part of maturity in film-making – but of late, there have been enough movies in Tamil cinema to put things in perspective… a normal human becomes the protagonist – so you find the hero of MounaGuru getting overpowered by the bad guys easily in many places.

And oh yes, I think the gun-shots stopped with about 8 or so bullets in one scene where the hero shoots at the bad guys. Usually, in our films, a normal service-issue pistol is made to shoot unlimited rounds of bullets (or until a twist in the fight-scene is required, when suddenly, after about 20 rounds, the magazine goes “prematurely” empty!)

Cinematography – A Poetry On Its Own
There is nothing immediately stunning about the cinematography – but it sure is different from what one would usually expect. Sudden glimpses of poetic or artistic angles are frequently seen. There aren’t many locations to shoot in the movie – the script does not require them – but whatever locale has been captured, has been done so artistically.

 

Realism is good. Gripping realism is better. A thriller with a gripping realistic base is far better. It is little things like these that made me like MounaGuru.

But it’s a film with real and obvious problems of its own, too. Arulnidhi has certainly matured from his previous venture – but a lot is left undone in his acting. And then there is Iniya – whose potential to portray has been largely left untapped – especially in comparison to her abilities showcased in Vaagai Sooda Vaa.

I have a strong feeling of disapproval when very potential comic actors (or the good guys) take up the negative roles and perform excellently. The dislike that arises when such things happen is a proof of the excellent performance by the actor in question – and John Vijay definitely hit the right chord. His team of villains was a perfect one – with each one adding as much emotion as is required to make it look very real.

Of all the things I liked, it was Uma Riaz Khan’s character itself and the meticuluous portrayal.

I’d like MounaGuru to stand as an example for the way Tamil cinema has matured over the past few years – as compared to decades of commercialism with infrequent masterpieces here and there.

Mullaperiyar And The Way We Have Messed Up The Issue So Far

Mullaperiyar Dam

Mullaperiyar Dam - You'll See Something Like This Everyday For The Next Few Months Till The Issue is Dropped

Motive, motive, motive.

It’s all about motive.

Kerala has a single motive – somehow, decommission the dam. It’s pretty simple and obvious because:

1. the revenue generated by the dam is far less than what could actually be the case had there been no lease between TN and Kerala before.
2. the proposed new dam would be built by Kerala (obviously) and would be under their control.

TN has a single motive too – somehow, never let the above things happen.

That again is simple. TN is already running short of electricity, and the electricity from the dam is under TN’s control.

But you know what? We’ll f*ck up this whole game. We’re already doing that, but here’s how comprehensively we’ll mess up with the whole issue!

 

The “Tamilan” Sentiment

One of my facebook friends started posting very passionately about the developments in the area. Some 50,000 Tamilians agitated and that was a proud moment in history! If history has been read right, you’d probably know that agitations of that sort have a strange habit of turning into riots. And there’s no stopping Keralites if they agitated for the same issue too. Kootti kalichi paathaa kanakku seriya varaadhu, mothama poidum!

Shouting slogans at the border is not going to drive a point. It wont even drive a whiff of air at the Kerala Govt! That’s several hundred kilometers away in “Thiruvenendhapurem!!”

 

The Keralite Conundrum

Having a motive is not wrong. But having an ulterior motive, and coating it with some botched up, semi-baseless ideology and points at the Supreme Court is. That’s precisely what Kerala Govt is doing.

Yes, if the dam leaks, if there’s going to be more water flow, if there’s going to be flooding, all those resorts and occupants are going to drown! But where did they come from? Those are typical encroachments – and have been proved to be so, havent they?

The motive of the Kerala Govt looks as simple as it can look. It’s a question of need versus greed. Yes, it’s quite natural for a govt to think that it’s getting underpaid for a lot of water and electricity but trying to decommission a perfectly safe dam for that – citing reasons that even the Supreme Court laughed at – is definitely not helping anyone.

 

The DMK Dandanakka

I am no Amma fan, nor a supporter. But the first warning she sent regarding the issue – that of asking politicians not to make hasty statements or hate-speeches – is a very serious thing. But who cares, eh!!? Of all the people, you’d not expect the DMK not to do something silly right now. It will. It did.

Oh, if it wasn’t the DMK, it would be some other opposition! The standard rule here is not to think about the overall welfare of the state. It’s about the overall state of the welfare of the party – and anything that could help raise the popularity of the party, or tar the face of the opposite party would be immediately done.

A day-long fast? Okay, then? Condemn the Center? Fine, then?? *yawn* We already saw some of that fasting joke last time with the SriLankan issue, didnt we?

 

Center Wont Say Anything, Buddy!

One good thing that the TN Chief Minister does is never care for the Center to act. Center’s already in deep mess and trouble for now with all the allegations and Anna Hazare missiles pointed at it. It’s probably still reeling under the blow that it got – from various quarters. (and some slaps too!)

(Note to Sibal – was that free-speech or was it censor-able content?!!)

Center’s momentary (or eternal, as may be the case) silence on the issue could only mean two things:

- It doesnt want to end up in this tangle which looks eternal for now.
- Probably it knows the Congress Kerala Govt’s demands and points aint that right at all, and so, wouldnt stand the test of time in the court of law.

 

Supreme Court – The Final Answer

You see, people, politicians, governments and other institutions are passionately run.

People will agitate, shout slogans, throw stones – and who knows? they might even stand as a group on the dam and weaken it really!

Politicians will do anything from a faked fast to randomly generating emotional speeches (in the presence of a microphone and a few dozen people) – and ruin the already deteriorating state of Kerala-TN relations.

Governments will have to official release statements – and file their complaints – in order to keep up the good faith of the people – and also to make sure things happen the way the governments want them to happen.

Each one of these is biased – even though a Keralite would say his point is right and a Tamilian would do the same for his own point!

Let the issue take its full-shape in the Supreme Court. If Kerala over-rides the ruling of the SC, then wouldnt that tilt the case in TN’s favor? The issue is not between people. If people took to the streets or took to arms, there’s no end to the issue. It’s between motives of two states. One feels it’s underpaid, and the other says it’s all right because it’s according to the lease. Let the SC decide whose motive shall sustain.

And to reporters – Stop standing at that Kerala-TN border and reporting as if you’re reporting live from Indo-Pak border during the Kargil War, for our sakes, damn it!

Of Colleges, Accreditation, NAAC and our Idiosyncratic System

I am no administrator. I am not a professor either. I dont belong to a management of any educational institution. But being a student is sufficient enough to speak about the fantastic, brilliant and amazing method of accreditation of our colleges through NAAC – the expansion of which escapes my memory, but which is something like the National Academic Accreditation Council.

Last week, the college where I happen to study (read do data-entry work for the department I belong to) had the long-due NAAC accreditation process. For starters, it’s the way UGC credits the colleges based on the college’s achievements, performance and overall status.

There are quite a lot of parameters and variables that go into the decision of accreditation. An A+ with five star rating means an excellent college, while there are other accreditation grades which actually mean “useless, should be closed down but we’re giving you more chances” but are put decently as “potential for exceptional growth” or something diplomatic like that.

There’s only one damned question I have in mind. What’s the point in inspecting a college through a NAAC committee (comprising of principals, vice-chancellors etc. from various other colleges / universities of different states) when you have already alerted the college about to be accredited?

I mean, it’s plain simple and obvious.

 

You know what happens actually? The moment you say, okay we’re gonna send the inspection team on such-and-such date, preparation for the inspection starts!

The whole college suddenly begins to work! And for what? Not the students, not man-making education, not for the sake of learning. But, merely, for the inspection team!

This is what happens every time!

There was this physics teacher in my 12th who used to say, dont give me false statement. We used to laugh at the grammatical and funny aspect of the phrase he used frequently. But when you actually see what a college does in front of the inspecting committee, that phrase suddenly seems so bloody true.

So, hey you NAAC fellas! You are fooling yourself, and we are fooling ourselves – and in the end, a college that’s half-immersed in internal politics, mis-management, and improper vision gets a good rating – all because it had earned a great name way back in the past.

How in the hell do you expect our students to take up research, to take up philosophical thought and be innovative if this is the method you follow? It’s all an eye-wash!

With all due respect to your committee, to the proficiency of the members of the committee and the whole idea of informing the college before you inspect it (to test the reality of the college’s performance and functioning) – eff off!

Am I That Bad?

I know I’m bad, Grandma. But I hope I am not as bad as you made it out.

They called me a cold sob. I didnt care.

They called me an aloof, and because back then it was partly true, I didnt mind.

They called me old-school and stupid. I didnt care, again.

They called me the bloody naasthikavaadi. I never minded – because that’s precisely what I am, at times.

They called me indifferent, heartless and opportunist. I just didnt care at all.

They even told I was full of false-pride and ego. In the past, may be I really was. I believe I am different now, but still the chanting continues – I didnt mind.

And then, I enquired about your health and well-being.

I dont know why you responded the way you did.

You didnt say a thing. Oh you chose not to. You did not look at me in the eye and smile. You chose not to. You did not even acknowledge the question. You chose not to. You just muttered a stern and cold “mmm..” which made it clear that you didnt even want to respond to me.

And I felt bad. Very bad.

I have remained away from my paternal relatives for long, yes. I dont exactly mingle a lot with many of these people. But I respect them all! I like my cousins and I gladly want to help everyone when they ask me a favor. I am okay with being just a useful instrument when they require me. I respect my dad’s siblings, a.k.a your kids. But I keep a respectful distance at all times. That’s what I am. I certainly dont intend any ill-will, but I dont want to interfere. I am not the ekkedaavadhu-pogattum type. I am edhu-nadandhaalum-nalladhukkaaga-nadakkum type.

There was only one thing that moved me to tears of late. My mom accusing me of brimming with false-pride when all I wanted to do was tell her I was not as bad as she made me look. I made my defense and in return, I was falsely accused.

I still dont know why my eyes welled up when you replied the way you did, grandma, but it sure made me feel bad about myself.

Probably it was the hope and trust that I always have had in grandparents; probably it was the belief that grandparents are more outgoing, forgiving and benevolent than even parents; or probably for that one brief moment, I suddenly trusted my mom’s words about me being one of your favorite grandchildren, not realizing that all grandchildren remain equal to your eyes.

Yes, I am bad, I know it, and I accept it completely. I am working on being good, too, even though failures pile up.

And I am sorry for whatever I did that made me so loathsome to you. I truly am.

- Your Grandson.

Out of Focus – How A DSLR Hunt Ended In A Digicam! Darn!

There was once a point of time when all I knew about cameras was the Yashica Electro 35 – my dad’s famed possession which he bought for some 2000 bucks way back in the 80s (or 70s, I’m not so sure). This was the time when he used to tell me how hard photography was – well, with that film camera, it sure was darn hard. It was a single-lens no-zoom kinda camera – but it sure got me hooked for a while with its self-timers ;)

After that, I never gave much thought to cameras, photography et al but of late, I’ve been having – much like the generation I belong to – an enormous craze towards DSLR cameras. So, as is the usual case, the hunt begins.

Having handled pretty deftly (which, coming from me, should be read as awkwardly) some FujiFilm camera with good zoom and an EVF I began liking the EVF-kind very much. Yes, I still like these a lot as opposed to the LCD-only point-and-shoot cams.

Well, “the hunt” began something like an year back – or.. oh fish! I don’t remember it. Must be late last year or early this year. I first took a look at those DSLR-like superzoom cameras and was like “Wow! this is it! I am going to get one of these and zoom-in from different angles and look like a professional photographer and wowww!” None of it, eventually, was to happen.

So this was a time when I was a part-time work-from-home guy – with a rapidly deteriorating savings account (whose downward trend, even today, seems to be perfectly intact)! And so, I had a heavy budget of 10k-15k. For that budget, if you are on the camera scene, you’ll know, you get what DSLR-camera-owners like my buddy Sujan would call “a piece of sh*t.” Boy oh boy, I had lined up a few FujiFilm, Kodak and other cameras – with EVFs – and I also had some refurbished ones on Amazon bookmarked.

With money, my story has always been the same. If I save enough to decide to buy something I consider worthwhile, some or the other obligation comes up – and I end up having to put off things. It happened with my laptop. And it just happened with the camera too :P

Well, all those things apart, here’s the kick. Someone who decided not to have the point-and-shoot ever just because he wanted the DSLR so badly turned up buying just the thing he would not want to have. And here I am with the Sony DSC S3000!

I like it, though, and that’s in the day. In the night, especially outdoors, I would rather not talk about it!

Yeah, this is a rant. A bloody rant with no other intention! :P Well, let’s see. Some more work would probably mend my finances enough – and by six or seven months down the lane, we’d buy a good DSLR. We as in Rakesh and me :P If you’re reading this Rakesh, I want you to make sure you too get ready for a May/June/July 2012 DSLR hunt! :D