Sunday, January 28, 2007

{photos later, blogger acting up, stupid bitch}

The Bannari temple road connects Coimbatore to Mysore, and its a road that few drivers would choose to navigate. There are twenty seven hairpin bends all along the road, where landslides are frequent, and a slip will easily let you disappear into the thick Satya Mangalam forests that until recently used to be the hideout of the infamous Sandlewood smuggler and Ivory poacher, Veerappan. The only reliable safety measure for drivers here is the Bannari temple at the foothills of the Malai Mahadeshwara hills, just before the road starts, a temple that was constructed as soon as the road was, so that the travellers would have the grace of God before the ventured to navigate it.
Initially, buses would not cross over from Tamil Nadu to Karnataka, so the changeover used to happen at the top of the hill, at the borders, where it was customary for the passengers to get down, vomit, clean up and board the next bus. By car, a simple wave of the hand to the forest officers there is sufficient to get you past, there is no checking that takes place now a days. The simple rule of the road is that those travelling uphill have their way... the others just move out, even if it means driving on the wrong side of the road so that it is easy for the bulky trucks to navigate around the hairpins.
Throw in an old Ambasador here, complete with the ring horn (a steering wheel kind of apparatus, right on the steering wheel, the whole thing being a horn) and a derelict air conditioner, and have the wild cat, fox, deer and elephant infested tropical forest rushing past, its a perfect setting to hear exploits of the famed sandlewood smuggler, Veerappan.
Veerappan, was apparently someone both feared and respected by the villagers in the area. Whether it was because of some Robin Hood tendencies, or a matter of bribing a lot of mouths into silence, Veerappan would regularly provide money to the villagers. They would look upto him as a prtoector and a sort of a Dada. In turn, they would provide him and his gangmembers with clothing and other such necessities which required him contact with what we would call civilisation. He used to be ruthless towards informers, anyone who blabbered would be brutally killed, and apparently a lot of the law officials and the local politicans were on his side because of the funds he diverted towards them. Apart from smuggling sandlewood and ivory, he would make demands after kidnapping prominant people. Demands that would enable him to sustain his activities. 
A special task force was formed by the Tamil Nadu state in order to stop him in his tracks, and that's when things started getting ugly. It is widely rumored that he killed his own children to prevent detection from the baby's cries. His modu operandi for killing the officials on his track was to announce a surrender... at such a place and time, and when the officials would arrive there, he would have his people at a vantage point taking them all out with rifles. The bandits would circle from points higher up in the valley - when the officials would be trapped down below. 
The special task force used the same techniques to nab him in the end... some guy named Vijay Kumar apparently infiltrated his ranks for a good five years, suggested that Veerappan would get his eyes checked when they were weak. Two members of the special task force hid below the planks of the ambulance van sent into the jungle to treat veerappan. When Veerappan entered, Vijay Kumar and the other official sprang out, and demanded that he surrender. When he refused to surrender, they shot him down there without further ado.
The source for this story is from my uncle, however I remember some controversy over how he died, some claim that he killed himself when he knew he was about to be captured, another claimed that he was killed by a gangmember... although it could well be possible that the identity of Vijay Kumar as this gangmember has been kept a secret to protect him.
Was nice to hear the story though, such expiriences are pretty rare, pity I didnt travel the road at night.

action-effect template

It is common for people in the advertising business to break their heads over taglines and slogans. A funny thing to be noticed around Tamil Nadu is the state government's efforts towards public awareness... all the slogans have the same simple and straightforward action-effect template - like "donate blood, save life" or "drive safely, save life" or "safety first, speed next". Sometimes it is just a straitforward "action" assertion - like "drove safely". I cannot remember the company, but in Ogilvy on advertising, there is an example of a good ad, simply saying "better product, lesser price, end of advertisement". Imagine this being the generic template for any product, will have pretty funny results like "use axe, smell good" or simply "use axe." Even the customary "Horn Ok please" so common in the west is replaced by a simple "sound horn" in the south. The good thing is that the point is crystal clear despite repeated use... and I guess that is all that is needed.

What really appealed me was the deviation from the rule on the way back... there is this sign across the road pointing the way to the airport, with this line on it "drive safely, someone is waiting for you."


The Wilhem Scream

I am slightly in a state of shock... thats because I just spent a lot of time watching the sequel to the butterfly effect... and cannot exactly make out what was wrong. It was a well knit storyline, put together wonderfully as well... but simply not as stimulating as the original... not because the plot was not imaginative, but because the plot was not imaginative enough to evoke the same responses that the original did. On its own, this would have been a terribly movie I guess. The butterfly effect is an amazing concept where a small change in the initial conditions will result in a large change in the results. Something we see happening in our lives everyday... its as simple as your money doubles every year in the bank, and how much you put in now will drastically change how much you earn later on... only a lot of these things are unpredictable. I have no clue why, but the wonder just wasnt there... or maybe it was the lack of a cast... I donno, but this was not a good movie. However, it lead to an interesting chain of thought that culimnated in the Wilhem scream (click the link)... something that Lord of the Rings, Spiderman, X-Men and Star Wars all have in common... it was a sound effect made immortal by a sound guy who kept using it in all the films he worked in, and he worked for skywalker sound, so it must have gone places... interesting readup.

Triple Irony

There is a hotel called "The paradise" in Mysore, which has a grand wooden statue of an elephant at the entrance. Now this statue, has real ivory engravings, and real ivory tusks. The patterns in the ivory are pretty intricate... and right on the trunk is am image of Ganpati, the elephant headed god. That they had to use elephant tusks to make this thing just goes to show the thin line between the disgusting and the aesthetic.


Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Garuda Mall at Bangalore

People here (Bombay) I mean, would have laughed to enter into a mall with a name like "garuda Mall". The peculiarity of the place is that all the shops have a name in English, AND a name in kannada ALWAYS written in a corner of the board. The only exception in the entire place was Kiah, a jewelerry store. Planet M is red in Bangalore, and not green... there are three food courts in the same mall, apart from all the restaurants... there is a haunted house type of thing, and one floor is still under construction. There are escalaters like all over the place, the most I have seen in Mumbai was at Nirmal lifestyles with say 10 of them. This place had 10 at the entrance, 4 on two wings, and four inside shoppers stop which spanned three floors. Didnt see the other shops as well... there might be more in there... I wouldn't know.

That's me and Eddie... a hashmood companion and a core head at visions... we went to the place to take a leak, as neither of us wanted to use the public toilets or sochalays, which charge a buck for a pee.

from bangalore

They are all right about the bandwidth thing... you are so used to 256 kbps that you CANNOT got any lower no matter what... you just become too damn impatient while surfing and the irritation you get makes you not want to do what you started to do with the net anyway. This makes it actually a very good thing, as you end up using the net for absolutely essential things and stuff like orkut or utube or ifilm all get pushed away for later. So I guess everyone should go right ahead and get a terribly good connection for a couple of months and then stick to something like 64 kbps.... really good therapy for getting over internet addiction.

Monday, January 22, 2007


That's an astronomical telescope that my father got for me.
Couldn't fix it to see anything till a friend managed to peekaboo into a living room of
the building opposite.  

No photoshopping. Result of shaking the camera and the telescope together against the city lights.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Never riding my bike again

My father had a yezdi which I now miss terribly... it got given away to someone I dont know now, and the replacement was a Bajaj four stroke, which I would inherit in good time... before that could happen, this happened to the bike:

Wait till you see what happened to the car:

Picturing a very weird accident? Well, a tree fell on everything.... stupid tree.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007


Imagine living in a world where you end up dying without understanding a small fraction of everything that goes on around you... what you do know for sure is also questioned and threatned by what others know for sure... what you believe in or have faith in without demanding for any proof (like trust in someone or love from your relatives) is also likely to blow up in your face at some point of time. And most of your knowledge is untrue anyway, you have to live within parameters that you will never understand. This is the real world, and I am scared.

The only real escape is art, where nothing is a lie and everything is a truth... its ironical that the only things that are so obviously untrue turn out to be the most turstworthy and believable. The entire universe is like this collosal web of lies, our world and society, a complicated and collosal web of lies, our culture and methods of approach hideosly outdated, incoherent, and extremely capitalist. We dont question things we really want to, because we dont have the freedom where it really matters... we end up believing strongly in ideas that are clearly not beneficial to us... things like God or Patriotism... a strong example to get a clear idea of what I am talking about is the Allyster Parreira case... he ran over a bunch of people which was newsworthy only because of some sort of wierd fetish on the part of the public to see the rich bastards go down... the general public, and the middle class, both resent the rich bastards, and would love to see these rich bastards in the gutter. And yet, we are all capitalistic in our everyday lives, we believe that socialism was a bad idea, we ourselves would like to escape the percieved drudgery of lower class existence. The middle class, in fact, behaves like it owns the country.

Its not only a narrow outlook on your own part that is scary, its the very necessity to sit down and sit silent and keeping your ideas to yourself... not because they wont have the potential to change the world if it gets out, stupid but popular ideas have changed the world anyway, its the resentment against change itself... again not that this change will not be accepted, the world will change, and people will accept it, but the change has to progress and evolve on the basis of the current past... we have a tendency to learn only from our history, not to think about a potential future and then change that. Like whatever mankind as a whole has expirienced so far, has become some sort of a benchmark for future progress, we will not take steps back, revive ideas that died down - socialism for example, and seriously think what is best for us... because we are prepared to do anything but come to a consensus. We are all conformists, but we all collectively have never really decided where to conform.

Dream Diary Goats and Rabbits Edition

I am in some northern village in the mountains, and my mother urges me to become rich, and have some ambition. I tell her in a very determin...