The Pensieve

If you have something to say, I might be saying something as well


December 2011

The Concert Phenomenon

As I was seated in the concert hall listening to the first concert I attended this season, I thought I should vent out all my pent up thoughts and long observed findings into this write – up that I would like to call “The Concert Phenomenon”.

Come December, and it is margazhi music festival in Chennai. And thus, as the diversity of our place has it, we can find various interesting phenomena in and about a concert.

The oft – repeated one is about the culinary versus the artiste’s popularity. Sometimes we will not be able to distinguish which ‘Kesari’ is being praised.

Also most of the performers have taken up to talking at length in between their songs. Many of these talks are borne out of care for the music students / listeners, no doubt. But it pains when you see someone dozing off amidst audience – people, you don’t go unnoticed.

I think each person in the audience would exhibit one or more of the characteristics from the below categories –

  • There are the Maami’s sitting in the front row in new silk sarees and asking “yen maami, neenga indha pearl set evlo ku vaanginel? Unga saree color ku nanna suit aardhu…” (Where did you buy this pearl set? It goes well with your saree color) Excuse me, is someone listening to what is being sung.
  • Then there are these geeks who carry a book to the concert to read – a timepass for an entertainment is it? Reminds me of a tamil movie dialogue – “rest eduthu tired agi rest edukkaren”.
  • Next in list are the over enthusiasts whose interest in putting thalam is commendable; however, their boisterous nature and the fact that the thalam goes off beat, is not.
  • A special mention is needed to the youngsters who record the entire performance and thus miss out enjoying on the live one, and instead, spend the time in messaging.
  • Speaking of messages and mobiles, I forgot to mention the BGM providers! Uncles and aunties, who use mobiles to the barest minimum, feel uncomfortable having a silent profile. What ensues is a variety of ringtones as background music.
  • The most interesting ones however are those who carry a note book and pen in hand making a note of the song, ragam, thalam and composer for each of the item performed. Is this list going to be catalogued for historic reference by future generations?

Also available as aid to the above mentioned people are the ‘Ready Reference’ books. RRR (it has a nickname too!) has a collection of popular kritis and an abbreviation index in the glossary that you need to map to in order to use it. Reminds me of old schooldays where we used to do dictation – copy from book into notebook as the ‘recital’ goes on.

When the ‘aalapana’ goes to the madhyama kalam / higher notes, when the korvai is finished, when any frenzied manodharma piece is over, it is generally followed by a ceremonial clapping. If you do not clap or nod, you are bound to get a few quizzical glances. Excuse me, but I will definitely acknowledge the phrase that I personally relish.

The behind the stage scenes are yet another spectacle! It is regular to hear “excellent Kamboji it was”, “Thani pinnitel pongo!” and similar praises, backstage. But when someone comes and introduces themselves as the artiste’s “neighbor’s grandma’s onnu – vitta chithapa’s sammandhi’s second son; gnabagam irukka” (neighbor’s grandma’s second cousin uncle’s in – law’s second son; remember me?) or the likes, the artiste’s expression would be priceless!!!

Once the ‘mangalam’ has been sung, the wait is on for the next day newspapers / magazines to bring out the reviews about the concert. The expectations are not fully quenched sometimes owing to an extensive play of English vocabulary.

I have described above a few instances of interesting things that happen at a concert. The rest are left to the imagination of the readers!

–          Vid 🙂


Y Lineage

Misinterpretations happen. Especially with age old customs and traditions.

I remember an interesting discussion I had owing to the link given to me by my friend. (Do check out the link as well)

For those who do not feel like reading the long article, it is about “Science of Genetics behind the Hindu Gotra System – The Y Chromosome and the Male Lineage”.

What followed was a story from mine and my friend’s imagination. I thought I should share it with you all as well. Here goes:

me:      hey i was thinkin of this possibility – jus an imagination

but u gotta hear t thru

Mr.X: k

me:     rishi: “its not advisable for 2 ppl of the same gotra to get married”

layman: “y?”

r: to conserve the Y chromosome that s present only in men

l: “the wat??? :O

r: k just forget t for now… but rememb this, ppl from same gotra are considered siblings (that way they wont marry even if they dont und the reason 😉 )

l: k k

L gets married

l1 to l:

l1: hey im plannin to get married

l: good but dont marry person from same gotra

l1: y???

l: i dono some rishi told so

i also didn… he seemed pretty learned

l1: but i wanna marry some1 from my family, some1 i kno

l: oh…. well i think there s a way out

if u marry ur mom’s brother’s son / daughter that will technically satisfy the cond

(dad’s sister’s son / daughter implied)

l1: wow gr8 idea ill do just tht!!!

l1 to l2:

Mr.X: haha

me:     l1: im happily married…

l2: oh good… to whom??

l1: to my mom’s brother’s daughter

l2 to l3: l1 s happily married

l3: oh gr8 how s tht so??

l2: he says he s married to …. the blah blah

l3: so u say if u marry like that, then thts good…

l2: i guess so…

l3 does the same

l5: im plannin to get married

l4: its to ur cuzin only right…. coz thts how l3 did

l5 to l6: the story goes on….

l116: my uncle has a 1 year old girl… as thts the rule of the society once she s old enuf, she s my wife….

thus the phenomenon

lol story over

Mr.X: 🙂


then comes a new gen

me:     and the actual reason vanishes

Mr.X: inquisitive-1 : how come ppl marry to cuzins

i2 : looks wierd. lets look in

i1 (brilliant in genetics winds back half way and then figures that marrying across gotras helps in reducing the defects in the offspring).

i2: but that cant be true since A + B = C (C gets both genes of A and B). So C = fn(AB) but is gotra A

similarly D + E (E is same gotra as B) = F = fn(DB) but gotra D when C + D = H is allowed we increase the defect probability in H wrt to B

fn (AB + DB)

i1: looks like the rishis had figured some part out but did not know abt genetics that much like we do now

i2: yea. this gotra system doesnt make any sense.

and thats how it goes 🙂

Mr.X:  u explained how it happened

i am saying how its happening now

me: so how was the story????

Mr.X: nice 🙂

a cliche called Hardwork

Like most of the people in the world, I too believe in the concept of “hard work yielding to success”. Yes, we work towards an aim, and persevere until we reach it. And so we get paid for our efforts.

I absolutely agree to all the above things. What I don’t understand is that, why should someone else appreciate your hard work? I mean, the finished product of any effort warrants validation at any point of time, yes. But it should be the quality of the product (be it a performance, code, or any other kind) that should be reviewed.

Appreciation should come for how good it is, how rare it is, how new it is, and so on. How dumb does it sound if we have to value something just because it was done WITH A LOT OF HARD WORK? Ok then. I don’t know dancing. But I love the art form. I will take it up as a challenge to learn and practice dance for a year. Then I shall perform, and expect you to shower me with accolades. Will you? (Please note that I have 2 left feet ;))

Don’t you think the above paragraph is idiocy? I feel the same way when things like this happen. “My child has worked so hard for this round…” “… So I think she / he is the most deserving candidate for this award…” “… Thus please do vote for her / him…” “… The person has worked so hard to do this role…” “… Hence please so honor the hard work by watching…” “… Consider me to be a child from your home and give me your aadharavu (support)…”

It has become something like a cliché to say “hard work paves way to success” after the exploitation that has been happening on the sentence lately. I think I should redefine what I believe in from now on. I shall do what I love doing, what I am capable of doing, and do it putting my heart and soul into it. I shall expect appreciations like any other human being, but I shall not seek it. “Thou shall be a by-product of the happiness I get by doing something”.

Until next,

Vid 🙂

A Travelogue…

Definition of Travelogue – A lecture about travel. And thus, here we start…

My parents and me journeyed to a place in Chennai called Chromepet some 20 plus years ago. We have been traveling in and out of the place ever since. However, whenever we are here, we stay at the same house. Our apartment is surrounded by little greenery and houses on all sides (believe it or not) and sometimes filled with the droning sound of the motor. There are countless memories related to this place. Hence for now, I give you a day’s happenings’ recount.

The alarm starts ringing from 5.30 AM and goes on till 6.10 AM. I have been hitting the snooze button seeing my phone through the thin seam between my eyelids all this time. Finally I get up, brush my teeth, have coffee and start out for a morning walk.

The sights outside on a busy weekday morning always fascinates me. The locality is buzzing with people – mama’s and mami’s on their way home from the temple holding a “dhonnai” – a cup made of dried leaves and pinned with tiny sticks – full of pongal (Margazhi special)… men in trousers (ara nijar in my Thatha’s vocabulary) buying newspaper and milk… college students waiting for their college buses – please note that most of the private colleges in Chennai have early bus timings owing to the fact that they are all situated amidst forests / lakes / deserts in the outskirts of the city… “share – autos” carrying sleepyheads heading to office… A stray person recognizing me and “enna, walking ah?” How does it seem to you – like I am brushing my teeth, or what? 😛

The situation changes in the main road on my return journey. College students are replaced by office goers in bus stands; “share – autos” carry double the load than my previous mention; kids laden with schoolbags as big as them, moms trailing behind giving instructions non – stop. And there is this old auto wala I try to avoid to and fro my walk, because this guy accuses me for his loss of income. Old man, who on earth goes for morning walks in auto?! :O

Later in the morning, on my way to this building called “Chennai One”, just before I enter it, a beautiful sight awaits me. An expanse of more than a km on either side are water bodies. I tell you beforehand that they are lakes – you can’t identify at first sight, there is more garbage in it than water is. Pretty useful, I should say, for dumping garbage / sewage. Especially when it rains, the lake emanates a fragrance that makes me don my stole like a terrorist for crossing this stretch!

However, the constricted view from inside glass – sealed windows is really good. The reason being, the smell is eliminated and the dumped region can be conveniently ignored. This month is apt for the migratory birds. We (the usual gang that goes for coffee together) stand near one such window admiring the birds during break.

What a flock of birds! Around 500 in total. They fly in different groups, each in one direction. One group from south to north and the other, east to west, say. Suddenly some of the birds from the former group delink themselves and join the latter. Some confusion within the ranks, presumably. Four of them detach from the rest and fly low towards the swamp. This triggers in motion more birds that were previously sitting and a newer flock emerges. Thus the play continues and its a cute phenomenon to observe.

Another notable sight is the sunset through these windows in the evening. Unfortunately, I have never managed to capture it as a 2D image and be equally impressed with it. Maybe the dispersion does not happen that well through the lenses 😉 😛

Traveling in bus is by itself an experience in Chennai. Like everywhere, the important routes and peak hours operate full houses in buses. And the preferred places to stand are the poles near alternate seats – easily 4 people will be fighting (cold war types, nothing violent) for a hold there at anytime. Also if you end up standing somewhere in between the two entrances, then you get the opportunity to do social service as well. Ticket – buying – for – others is an art that only daily commuters can excel in. It involves a lot of complexities, viz.. remembering who gave how much money, which place they are commuting to, if the ticket that is in your hand right now is your ticket or someone else’s :P, and in case there is a change due kept by the conductor and you are the one passing on the money and ticket, you get to soon pass the “polambal”s and abuses as well!!

Back home and after a filter coffee and yummy dinner later, all I can think of is – “Singaara Chennai” does have a beauty of its own!!! 😀

Until next,

Vid 🙂

The first thing that comes to my mind when I start writing here is, “How long is this blog going to last?” LOL!

Since it is my first post, and as usual I have no clues on what I am going to write, I ll try this out.


The Art of Purposeless Writing


I love writing. I want to write something right now, but have no clues as to what to write. So I am trying to cook up some random nonsense and check out how far it goes. One very essential part of any write – up is the topic written about. That is the very thing I am trying to defy – how much longer can I go on without zeroing on one?

Well, so far, so good. So what will you do if you like writing and feel bored on a lazy Sunday like this? I think I can probably give a title to this write-up. How about “the art of purposeless writing”? Oh no! A title kills the whole purpose of purposeless-ness. Now that is a better one – “the purpose of purposeless-ness”. There I go again.

If I have put so much effort for writing something that’s pointless, then, I wonder how much effort has to go into the “summa dhan irkken” job, quoting Vadivel here.

Say, I argue that, it is not right to spend energy on nothing. That is not entirely true.

If energy can neither be created nor be destroyed, then how can it be wasted? Ah! Now, that’s a revelation. Come on guys, it’s not wrong to do nothing anymore. We are not committing any sin! Hence proved.

When I started writing I had an objective of writing at least two pages of this stuff. Then again, I cannot have an objective. So I am just going to write and see how far it takes me. Great, that feels more purposeless! Not hopeless, though. There is a hope of a time pass here.

What to do when we feel bored? I have the eternal trio for my entertainment – mobile, comp and TV. Assuming I should not do anything worth it, I cannot call friends, cannot watch any programme that has meaning, cannot browse without a reason. Then what do I do? The word browse reminds me of something. Search in Google for “I’m feeling bored” and the first hit is a site for this kind of pointless time pass. Most of it is crap, though.

You want me to summarize what’s running in your mind as you read this? “Where is this leading to?” right? Thanks. I am glad you thought so. My answer would be, “Like I know: P “… Hehe…


Three weeks and lot of musings later, I concluded that none can be purposeless. If that sounds like a misnomer to you, all the better because I succeeded in not zeroing on the topic! You will all be agreeing that we cannot do “nothing” at any point of time – minimal breathing O2 / CO2 is needed to tag you alive. At least, doing nothing is impossible to me. And that is what I tried to do above. You may conclude if the attempt was futile or not. Cheers!


Until next,

Vid 🙂

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