Archive for January, 2007

O P NAYYAR: The man who took on Lata and won

31 January 2007

E R RAMACHANDRAN writes: If somebody dared to oppose Lata Mangeshkar and yet made a career in Hindi Film Industry in the 1950s and ’60s, it was wishful thinking and could only be suicidal at worst.

O.P. Nayyar proved that he could do so and how he did!

Not for him compromises which marks the careers of most. Even when he fell out of Asha Bhonsle, he brought in Dilraj Kaur. He also encouraged Mahendra Kapoor to sing for him.

Tumsa Nahin Dekha, Kashmir Ki kali, Mere Sanam, CID, were all big hits due to foot-tapping music from OP Mohammed Rafi’s Jawani Aaye Masth Masth, Hum dum Mere, Pukartha Chalagaya, Yeh Bombai Meri Jaan were all great numbers.…

The last song Asha sang for him, after they had broken up, won her Filmfare award for Pran Jaye Par Vachan na Jaye, was the haunting song: Chain se hum ko kabhi..Aapne jeene na diya…

OP was versatile. He could compose with his signature beat music Yun tho humne lakh hassen dekhe. He was equally good in Mera naam chin chin chu, a foot-tapping song for bar-room dance for Howrah Bridge and Chotasa Balama based in Classical Raag.

O.P. Nayyar brought zing and romance to music in an era known mainly for songs based on classical raag mostly composed by Naushad. Much later R.D. Burman and now A.R. Rahman, to some extent, compose similar music.

But OP was OP. The first and the original….

Om Shanti Om: Why you must watch Parzania

27 January 2007

SHASHIKIRAN MULLUR writes: In a yoga class seven years ago, I learnt Om is the natural vibration of the universe.

For weeks now, I’m seeing the symbol of the sound on saffron triangular buntings. The Om is encased within the rim of a flaming sun—can anyone, anything, imprison Om?

The vibration these buntings cause are not soothing like when we chanted Om and went into meditation, when the master made us pray four times facing four directions invoking peace (sukhino bhavantu) for all.

These buntings are aloft, fallen, drawn tight, hung loose, a clutter on the street, a mess. They are surely rousing some to anger, and driving the rest to fear.

They are everywhere, also in the Muslim areas, taunting the Muslims, daring them. Banners fly alongside buntings, and a major political party is the sponsor.

The banners demand to know: “Why should we be afraid to say we are Hindus, here in Hindustan�”

I am hard put to answer: It is written all over my face that I am Hindu, and how can I add speech to it with any pride when these chaps kill off a few hundred Muslims each time cricket goes into a lull?

Moreover, I have said I am Hindu wherever I have gone in the world, and until I saw these banners, never thought I need to fear saying it.

Some years ago, in Malleswaram, I walked by a huge gathering addressed by a fiery speaker. His oratory had charged the air and my skin bristled in resonance.

The public-address system was strong and clear and his timbre-rich voice carried over the mass of people in the maidan, into buses and cars rolling slowly down the street so they could hear him a bit, and into shops and small restaurants where people sat and listened, rapt�

“They ask us to welcome Muslims, to welcome everyone. Fine. We will make our home their home. And where shall we go? Where shall we go?” And again, “Where shall we go? Navellige hogona?”

He was dreadfully convincing, as fanatics are, masters of rhetoric, masters of the dumb and the docile. That speaker may know now that his countrymen have made the whole world their own.

On Sunday, to the taunts of the buntings, a B-grade Muslim politician gave response. He chose to grieve publicly for Saddam Hussein three weeks after the hanging. Shops and houses burned in Shivajinagar and its suburbs. An innocent orphan boy aged twelve fell to police firing.

The politician said sorry. “Calm returns,” announced the front page of a leading paper in the middle of the week. It is week’s end, and the boy is still dead.

Last night, with thoughts like this, I saw Parzania and in it the Gujarat riots.

Someone has had the courage to show what happened, and the talent with which to show it. One of our best actors has given a committed performance, and so have the rest of the cast. Very quickly in the movie the quality of its making became irrelevant and I subjectively suffered the evil that triumphs when good men are silent.

I ask every Indian to please go see Parzania. Riots must not happen. We must constantly speak out, or we are guilty like them.

An egg a day and a peg a day

27 January 2007

E.R. RAMACHANDRAN writes: Ajji was reading Prajavani keeping the paper close to her eyeballs.  I was about to ask her to keep the paper slightly away when she threw it down.

“Ajji, What happened? Didn’t like what you read?”

Alvo, Ramu. If children eat koli motte, won’t it strengthen their bones and improve overall health?”

“That’s what studies have shown.  Also, it’s one more way we can keep the poor and rich children at same uniform nutritional levels.”

“It’s not enough they wear same uniform dress to keep equality in the class. Why can’t the poorer children get better food, which they can’t get at home, so that they too can grow stronger physically and mentally?”

“Ajji! It appears it is being made in to a religious issue. That’s why the government has dropped the idea.”

Relgus gerlus sareenappa! We should keep it within our homes! If scientists have proved an egg a day is good for overall development for a child, why are these eggheads interfering in the affairs of the State! Isn’t the welfare of a child more important than any other belief, even if it is right? At this rate, somebody may want the departure time of 1100 hrs of Tipu Express to Bangalore on Fridays be changed, as it is falls during Rahukala period! Should the Government accept that too? It’s a sad day if it buckles under pressure of this sort.”


“Children should get poushtika ahaara, especially the poorer lot. Can they get dry fruits like badami, godambi, kharjura as some of these people who object have, every now and then as prasada? It’s perfectly all right for people to practice their faith in privacy, but they cannot force it on others and the Govt. It’s a shame, really.”

“Ajji, by the way…. How is your cold now?”

“Much better! The wretched cold and cough won’t leave me for more than three weeks. Every kashaya I tried didn’t work. ‘Shivane, innu nanna kathe mugeethu ankotha idde!  Your medicine worked for me like Ramabana.”

“Ajji! I was scared too. Finally, I thought I would give some foreign Kashaya. One spoon of that with milk for two days did wonders for you.”

“It really worked! Two days of uninterrupted sleep drove the cold away. Yava Aushadino adu?”

“Foreign kashaya Ajji! One spoon of brandy!”

Manehala! You gave me brandhi ?”

“Ajji! Look at this way. You tried whatever you knew. When the cold wouldn’t go away and you were coughing nonstop, I was worried and gave you whatever I knew and it worked. There is no point in being bullheaded on each and every issue. So it is with an-egg-a-day-for-a-child policy which can benefit millions of our children.”

“One more thing. Our neighbour Subbamma told me—it seems to keep apples and grapes fresh, vendors sometimes spray chemicals on them, which are more harmful. Koli motte has at least a protective outer covering.”


“Ramu. Innondu maathu. ‘Makkale Devaru.’ Avarannu arogyavagi, buddhivantharagi belsuvudakkintha, manushyanige bere yava dharma doddado?”

Nija Ajji.”

What it means to have a guru

27 January 2007

Are we a people without a sense of history? Without a desire to document what is ours?

Yoga guru K Pattabhi Jois is one of the preeminent stars of our soil, lighting up lives and putting Mysore on the itineraries of thousands across the world. How revealing, therefore, that it should take a foreigner Robert Wilkins to make a movie on the Second Most Famous Mysorean in the World.

“Discover what it means to be and have a Guru”:

RIP: A journalist who could say ‘no’

24 January 2007

M K VIDYARANYA writes: Karnataka’s seniormost journalist Y K Rajagopal, who passed away in his sleep last night after a glorious 60-year innings in journalism, was a walking encyclopaedia who had trained many journalists right from the days when he was the chief reporter of Deccan Herald, one of the country’s popular newspapers, in the early 1960s.

A bachelor and a celibate he practised what he preached and was sincere to the core. Having participated in the freedom struggle, YK, as he was popularly called by his friends, was a socialist.

Born on September 19, 1920 to Yapamakula Krishna Setty, a leading cloth merchant of that time, YK, who pursued his higher studies at Maharaja’s college in Mysore, jumped into the freedom movement . He started manufacturing crude bombs inside the Kaveripatnam Hall in Mysore city. He used to wear only a khadi jubba and a dhoti.

A college mate of H Y Sharada Prasad, former information advisor to three Prime Ministers, internationally known photojournalist T S Satyan and others, YK traveled in the forests around Mysore, Bangalore and Hindupur to keep alive his anti-British activities, published information hand outs and supplied bombs.

After the country gained independence YK helped his father in his business and spend his time in marrying off his six sisters and a brother. However, he himself remained a bachelor.

YK who left for Bombay for business, got an offer from Deccan Herald to become its stringer and when he came back to Bangalore he was asked to join the organisation as a staffer.

Aa chief reporter of that paper he was the first to publish the Mahajan Commission report on Karnataka-Maharashtra border issue. He was also the first to interview Dalai Lama who had fled Tibet took refuge in India and visited the Tibetan refugees colony at Bylakuppe near Kushalnagar in Kodagu.

Had he continued in that paper, he would have ended his career as one of the country’s top journalists. But after a tiff with the editor of Deccan Herald, YK decided to resign as chief reporter to ‘save’ the owner K A Nettakallappa from embarrassment.

After quitting Deccan Herald, YK worked as correspondent of INFA news agency of late Durga Das and also as state correspondent for now defunct Motherland English daily during Indira Gandhi‘s infamous emergency.

During the evening of his life, the destiny was so cruel that a man who rubbed shoulders with governors and chief ministers right from Karnataka’s first Chief Minister K C Reddy up to S M Krishna, had to spent his days waiting in queue for food at the ‘Ashakta Poshaka Sabha’ in the VV Puram area of Bangalore as there was no one to look after him.

YK had refused to accept the Karnataka Rajyotsava Award as a matter of principle.

Rest in peace.

(Cross posted on sans serif)

How to recruit the right person for a job

22 January 2007

MARK BRADSHAW forwards a forward: Put about 100 bricks in some particular order in a closed room with an open window.

Then send two or three candidates in the room and close the door.

Leave them alone and come back after six hours and then analyse the situation.

If they are counting the bricks, put them in the accounts department.

If they are recounting them, put them in auditing.

If they have messed up the whole place with the bricksm, put them in engineering.

If they are arranging the bricks in some strange order, put them in planning.

If they are throwing the bricks at each other, put them in operations.

If they are sleeping, put them in security.

If they have broken the bricks into pieces, put them in information technology.

If they are sitting idle, put them in human resources.

If they say they have tried different combinations, yet not a brick has been moved, put them in sales.

If they have already left for the day, put them in marketing.

If they are staring out of the window, put them on strategic planning.

And then last but not least, if they are talking to each other and not a single brick has been moved, congratulate them and put them in top management.

Just desserts for the cheap justice

21 January 2007

The so-called crime serials on television, especially in Kannada, have become the byword in cheap, sensational, titillatory, voyeuristic yellow-journalism.

Privacies are invaded, reputations are shreded, insinuations are hurled, blood and gore spilt with such stunning lack of taste and sensitivity that it boggles the mind.

As the humourist Pranesh alias Gangavati Beechi puts it, “Naavu henge aagogiddivi andre, naalakku hena beelade iddare, nammige nidre ne barolla (we have become such we can’t grab five winks if we do not see four corpses).”

Working firmly on the simple logic that you should never let facts come in the way of a good story, the loud hosts of the two programmes have made their nightly incursions into necrophilia the first court of public resort.

How lovely, then, that one of the two “Cheap Justices of the Low Court of Karnataka”—Balakrishna Kakatkar of “Crime Story” on Udaya—should himself get embroiled in a blazing controversy that he would have been hollering about in high decibels otherwise.

For those not following the case, Kakatkar’s wife was found dead in mysterious circumstances along with a relative last week. The police version is that wife and hubby were separated for a long time, that the lady had run into business losses which prompted the alleged suicide, etc.

But, as the Mahatma could have but didn’t say it, those who live by third-rate journalism will die by it.

Vijaya Karnataka—a publication where the other host Ravi Belagere of “Crime Diary” has a column—has reported the presence of a “suicide note” which allegedly throws light on Kakatkar’s wife-beating and drinking.

That may not exactly be enough to implicate Kakatkar, but sauce for the victims is sauce for the victimiser, and some affected souls have mounted an SMS and blog campaign , alleging a cover-up and urging the National Human Rights Commission and Lok Ayukta for an investigation.

Go to

Cross-posted on sans serif

Bisi bele baath with Aishwarya Raita

20 January 2007

A week ago, Amlan Home Chowdhury reported in Vijay Times how drug dealers in Raxaul (Bihar) were naming their maal after Aishwarya Rai and Bipasha Basu. Now, V Srinivasan forwards a picture which underlines our fixation with all things filmy.

Cross-posted on sans serif

‘Hi, I’m Art Buchwald and I just died’

19 January 2007

Art Buchwald, the renowned American humourist and a long time contributor to The Hindu, passed away on Thursday night. In a video obituary that is now available on the New York Times‘ website, he announces his own death with this surreal claim: “Hi, I’m Art Buchwald and I just died.”

Watch the full video here.

Cross-posted on sans serif 

With love, to all, sundry and everybody

18 January 2007

Having missed presenting them his customary gifts during the New Year,  E R RAMACHANDRAN uses Makara Sankrathi to shower his largesse on the  high and mighty of the land.

1. CM: Suitcase to pack off, or a role in Pretty Man with Richard Gere.

2. Deputy CM: Same suitcase to come in!

3. Former PM: A telescope and microscope to find out what went wrong.

4. President, Kannada Sahitya Parishat: Karate and Kushti Primer

5. Karnataka MLAs: Season tickets to all Resorts, FOC!

6. Former Deputy CM: A lens to locate where he is in the Congress group photo!

7. Kannada littérateurs: Cassette of Jothe Jotheyali

8. Mulayam Singh: JCB Excavator

9. Mamta Didi: A Tata Car

10. Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee: Buddha Idol

11. Saurav Ganguly: The Book Revenge is Sweeter

12. Sachin Tendulkar: Primer ‘How to play Second Innings

13. Shah Rukh Khan: Q & A of ‘How Big B conducted KBC

14. Ash-Abhisek: Autobiography of ‘Dhiru Bhai’

15. Rahul Gandhi: The Book, Apprentice for Life!

16. Veeru Sehwag: The Book Cricket ka Funda

17. TV News Channels: List of Future Events as ‘Breaking News’

18. Greg Chappell: The Book My Hour of Truth: World Cup

19. Sharad Pawar: The Book Suicides of Farmers & Indian Cricket

20. Prime Minister: The Book Lovable Caretaker

21. George W. Bush: The Book Iran! Are YOU READY?

22. ISRO: The Book Sky is NOT the limit

23. Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi: The Song Those were the days, my friend

24. L.K. Advani: Mera Number Kab Ayega?

25. K.P.S Gill and P R Dasmunsi: Wooden Spoon (Jointly)

V for Victory, R for Roger, G for Ginger, A for…

17 January 2007

SWAROOP DEV writes: If Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are now Brangelina, if Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai are Abhiwarya,what can we call I.M.Vijayan and U.R.Ananthamurthy be called?

Namma Bengaluru: A City of Two Tales

15 January 2007

SHASHIKIRAN MULLUR writes: If you are in IT, the corporate club, or if you own a business, then you are in the malls, the pubs, the MG Road areas. Or at the Oberoi, the Leela, or the Windsor Manor.

There, people wear those light clothes with light colours, the settings are pleasant, and what the world says is happening in Bangalore can be seen is true.

For others it is life like on Kaigadi Road, for instance.

Take a walk to that laundry which stands where the road ends at the roundabout on the way to the Mills. These laundries have super-hot irons that give neat presses, neat lines, and will burn faint brown patches onto your white shirt—the dhobi will not accept your protest: he is strong, he is grumpy, and he has the iron.

Begin the walk from any home on any narrow lane, make way among women washing vessels at public taps, the water from the washing flowing down narrow gutters on both sides of the lane, smelling of stale food; walk through children playing noisily and happily in the middle of the lane; come into Kaigadi Road.

The road has few memories of calm and quiet. Those rare days when people and cars stayed away and all shops shut down, everyone remembers: when Raj Kumar died; when Indira Gandhi was gunned down; when they blew up Rajiv Gandhi.

Every step you take, you’ll push against recoil from the stench of urine that surges up from the feet of grimy walls: earth grainy like caviar, grape-red, rust-red, ever moist from decades of constant use.

Try and overcome, look up at the posters everywhere of the city’s illegitimate fathers, and of the movies.

See the large young face with stubble on a clean complexion, but with angry intense eyes set under hooded brows, framed under a sickle held across the forehead by an arching arm, the sickle dripping blood at several points, a lot of blood at the tip.

See in the poster the beautiful women—plump, some might say, but exquisite to the fans who fill the poster-pocked theatre, there behind.

Don’t step on the street, the drivers are from all over Bangalore and beyond, and know not to show mercy—see how schoolchildren dart through the traffic and nobody slows a bit. So stay on the pavement with the crowds and take long steps on the stone slabs—they have come off and lie edge over edge in criss-cross the whole length, grey stones going black.

Take care: some stones dip and rise and throw you off -balance when you step on them. In some places stones are taken away for use elsewhere. Reach the rim at the roundabout, feel your burning nostrils, take a lot of risk and dash across to the laundry.

Now you are settled to the sounds: the clatter of the rickshaws, the groan of the buses, the horns—all bundled and spiced up with strong smells of carbon and lead going into your lungs.

See next to the laundry, the IT City hasn’t shed its past: in the now expensive yard there, folks like villagers sit among high mounds of hay which they bundle or knot into ropes and send them away in ox-drawn carts.

If you walk on, see beyond the yard the temple set high over, on a large rock. Pipes carrying liquid-refuse come down, open for discharge onto the gutter-less road. Reach the Mills—so large and so wide with high walls, more prison than work-place, closed by unions, unused for years.

You are tired. But you haven’t left Bangalore that belongs to its significant-others.

You have miles to go to reach the greener areas, the old Garden City.

I suggest you call a cab.

(Kaigadi Road is my invention. The rest are facts.)

MAGANE: Join the movement against Andre Nel

13 January 2007

Pardon the Prakrit, but will somebody please explain what the fuck is the problem with Andre Nel?

Yes, the tall South African who looks as though he has just been thrown out of a James Bond set.

The fast-medium bowler whose follow-through ends with a glare and crunch of the teeth after each and every ball.

And who so believes that it is his divine right to bag a wicket off every ball that he gets into a long, ridiculous conversation with the batsman if he doesn’t.

Yes, the same Andre Nel.

How is it that every brown-skinned South Asian cricketer ends up donating a percentage of his match fees for smaller, sillier, one-off indiscretions on the field?

And how does the white monster, who all but fails to let out fire through his nostrils, manage to convince cricket’s masters of similar skin pigmentation that whatever he does in match after match doesn’t bring the game into “disrepute”?

If you have had enough of Andre Nel and his obnoxious antics and the umpires/ referees/ ICC’s inaction, join MAGANE, churumuri‘s initiative to let the world know what South Asia thinks of such pathetic onfield conduct—and even more pathetic onfield supervision.

MAGANE is an affectionate word in Kannada, meaning “son” but implying just a wee bit more, but for the purposes of this campaign, MAGANE is an acronym that stands for the Movement Aimed at Getting Andre Nel Expelled.

Leave a comment, get friends, relatives and colleagues interested.

Let’s win at least this little game, if we can’t the real one!

The PM has a dream: Ayyo! Amma!! Alas!!!

13 January 2007

E R RAMACHANDRAN writes: Addressing the 79th Annual General Meeting of FICCI recently, the Prime Minister, while underlining the need for an integrated Asia, said, “I dream of a day when, I can have breakfast in Amritsar, lunch in Lahore and dinner in Kabul.”

Subsequently, the Prime Minister thought he should try his dream in India first, as some kind of a rehearsal, similar to the nets Greg Chappell arranged for Team India before they played the disastrous last Test in South Africa.

As he asked his Secretary to plan out his itinerary after talking to the CMs, he was thinking of the mouth-watering dishes that awaited him.

The Secretary was busy all day and came with details late in the evening.

“Which are the places we are going to visit?” asked the affable PM already drooling over the variety on the menu.

“Tamil Nadu have graciously offered to host your breakfast comprising idli, vada, coconut chutney, onion sambhar along with sweet pongal and filter coffee.”

“That was very nice of them. “Dr” Karunanidhi still remembers what I like!”

“Kerala has offered to host your lunch with chicken curry, chicken halwa, coconut rice, payasam, mixed vegetables cooked in coconut oil, banana chips and pappadom with mango pickle.”

“That would be great! They serve food fit for the Gods in Kerala always.”

“But there’s a hitch sir! Kerala withdrew their offer for lunch once they learnt you would be arriving from Tamil Nadu. They are not exactly in talking terms over Mulla Periyar Dam water sharing between their States. Karunanidhi has also sent an email withdrawing his breakfast offer. He says he is prepared to host both breakfast and lunch provided we go back and have our supper in Delhi!”

“Oh, no! We can’t miss Kerala.”

“I called up Maharashtra CM sir. He is our host for breakfast. They will serve sabudana khichdi, aloo poha, vada-paav, Poona usal, srikhand with aam ras made from Ratnagiri mangoes…”

“The variety in our country is amazing. What about lunch?”

“The Karnataka CM is personally supervising your lunch. He wants to serve mavinakai chitraanna, puliyogare, huruli happala, obbattu, Mysore pak, Mysore saaru, badam kheer, curd rice and chilled wine made of Bangalore grapes.”

Kumaraswamy is a dynamic young man. He puts his heart and soul in whatever he does! When are we leaving…?”

“Same problem here also, Sir. Both have withdrawn their offer to host you once they learnt you are visiting the ‘other’ territory. Belgaum is still a sore thumb between Maharashtra and Karnataka.”

“What’s going on here?” thundered the coolest ever PM of India, losing his cool, “I am trying to promote an Asian League of Nations and what do I have here in my own backyard? States, who are suspicious of their neighbours and prepared, go any length to destroy one another … This is ridiculous…”

“It’s the same everywhere, Sir! Assam will not let you sleep facing Bihar. In West Bengal, Buddha has confirmed hosting a big spread of Bengali dishes comprising fish curry, ghee chawal, fish chips, sandesh, mishti doi and rasagulla… but he needs an NOC from Mamtha didi, if Ratan Tata is going to join you for lunch….!”

“If I am unable to have breakfast, lunch and dinner in our own States, how can I promote regional cooperation among Asian countries? I feel terrible!”

The PM was both sad and hurt. Sad, because he wouldn’t be able to eat the items his PA read out and hurt because the States were quibbling ever so frequently…

“Sir, if you don’t mind, shall I suggest something…. you should also do what some of your colleagues do which, in a way, is least controversial and there would be no khit-phit, afterwards.”

“What’s that?”

“Have breakfast in London, lunch in Montreal and dinner in Los Angeles.”

“Who will host me?” asked the PM.

“Peeoji, sir! The Pravasi Indian Origin Group (PIOG)!”

A reading list for journalists and wannabes

12 January 2007

Churumuri shamelessly plugs a post on its brother blog Sans Serif that has a reasonably long and unapologetically subjective list of journalism autobiographies, biographies, classics, compilations, fiction and memoirs, that should interest journalists, journalism students and anybody interested in the output of journalists, which includes you, yes you.

Read the full text: What you should read

How many Panjus does it take to fix a bulb?

11 January 2007

Tangdi firmly in cheek, KANCHAN KAUR asks: How many Panjus does it take to fix a light bulb?

Answer: 308 (to say nothing of the dog)

Analysis: 6 family members to frantically organise the celebrations

15 close friends to get drunk in celebration

15 dads of drunk friends to get drunk in celebration

30 cousins and their family (CFOs, lawyers etc) to look their best and go on nostalgia trip

10 cousins and their family from vilayat to roam around with handycams and digicams and go on nostalgia trip

3 dudes to man the bar

15 dudes to roam around serving tangdi kabab, paneer tikka etc

15 more dudes to man the buffet table and carefully label each dish

20 cooks

3 DJ and sidekicks

20 members of mahboob band (Yeh desh hai veer javanon ka specialists)

3 dholak walas (Baari barsi specialists)

20 dudes to carry the bright electric lanterns

30 dudes to dart at pieces of change thrown around by revelers

100 random guests (neighbours, business acquaintances, other well-dressed good looking people who everybody imagines is known to somebody else)

1 to actually fix the bulb (accompanied by horse, horse owner and 2 children of the family)

1 petrified labrador that stays under the bed through the occasion

*Note for CFOs/lawyers: numbers are guesstimates and not to be used for audit purposes

Once upon a time in Maharaja’s College

11 January 2007

Mysore-born film maker M V KRISHNASWAMY assisted Roberto Rossellini on the sets of Viaggio in Italia starring Ingrid Bergman; acted with Padmini; convinced Sir M Vishvesvaraya that there was documentary waiting to be made on him; and “made” Satyajit Ray stand in a queue for a cinema ticket.

Now, in an excerpt from a forthcoming book titled A Sort of History, MVK talks to SUGATA SRINIVASARAJU on life in Maharaja’s College in the 1940s.

Click on the M V Krishnaswamy button on the top right of the screen for the full text.


(Churumuri congratulates Sugata Srinivasaraju on winning the 2006 Sahitya Akademi Award for Phoenix and Four other Mime Plays)

The golf ball theory of life

11 January 2007

Golfer KNSK forwards a forward close to his heart: When things in your life seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day is not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar and two cups of coffee.


A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him.

When the class began, wordlessly, he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full.

They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar.

He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full.

They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Ofcourse, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full.

The students responded with a unanimous “yes.”

The professor then produced two cups of coffee from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar, effectively filling the empty space between the sand.
The students laughed.

“Now,” said the professor, as the laughter subsided, “I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things.  Family, children, health, friends, and favourite passions things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full. The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, house, and car. The sand is everything else, the small stuff.”

“If you put the sand into the jar first,” he continued, “there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life.  If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you.

“So. Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your partner out to dinner. Play another ound of golf. There will always be time to clean the house and mow the lawns.  Take care of the golf balls first, the things that really matter.  Set your priorities, the rest is just sand.”

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the coffee represented.

The professor smiled.  “I’m glad you asked. It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem there’s always room for a couple of cups of coffee with a friend.”

Have news channels lost their balance?

10 January 2007

ANANTHA SHENOY K forwards a forward attributed to “Ninth Dimension” that has been doing the rounds for a couple of months but still must be read.


The body of Major Manish Pitambare, who was shot dead at Anantnag, was cremated with full military honours at Thane on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, a news swept across all the news channels: ‘Sanjay Dutt relieved by the court’, ‘Sirf Munna not a Bhai’ ’13 saal ka vanvaas khatam‘, ‘although found guilty for possession of arms, Sanjay can breathe a sigh of relief as all the TADA charges against him are withdrawn’.

And then many experts like Salman Khan said, “He is a good person. We knew he will come out clean.”

Big B: “Dutt family and our family have relations for years he’s a good kid. He is like elder brother to Abhishek.”

His sister Priya Datt said, ‘we can sleep well tonight. it’s a great relief.’

In other news, Parliament was mad at the Indian cricket team for performing badly; Greg Chapell said something; Bomb scare on Gorakhpur Express; Shah Rukh Khan replaces Big B in KBC; and Sonia asked PM to consider reducing petroleum prices.

But most of the emphasis was given on Sanjay Dutt’s “Phoenix-like” comeback from the ashes of terrorist charges.

Surfing through the channels, one news item on BBC startled me. It read, “Hizbul Mujahidin’s most wanted terrorist ‘Sohel Faisal‘ killed in Anantnag. Indian Major leading the operation lost his life in the process. Four others are injured.”

It was past midnight. I started visiting the foolish Indian channels, the ones who are ‘Sabse TEZ’, but Sanjubaba was still ruling. They were saying how Sanjubaba pleaded to the court saying ‘I am the sole bread earner for my family’, ‘I have a daughter who is studying in US. Who will look after her?’ And then they showed how Sanjubaba was not wearing his lucky blue shirt while he was hearing the verdict. Also how he went to every temple and prayed for last some months. A suspect in the Mumbai bomb blasts, convicted under arms act, was being made into a hero.

Sure Sanjubaba has a daughter; sure Sanjubaba did not do any terrorist thing as in bombing some place or hijacking an airplane, etc. Sure Sanjubaba went to all the temples; Sure he did a lot of Gandhigiri but then…

Major Manish H Pitambare got the information from his sources about the terrorists’ whereabouts. Wasting no time he attacked the camp, killed the Hizbul mujahidin’s supremo and in the process lost his life to the bullets fired from an AK47.

He has a wife and a daughter (just like Sanjubaba). Age? 18 months. Major Manish never said ‘I have a daughter’ before he took the decision to attack the terrorist hide out in the darkest of nights?

He never thought about his having a family and being the bread winner of the family.

No news channel covered this since they were too busy hype-ing a former drug addict, an actor in real and reel life, a suspect who’s linked to bomb blasts which killed hundreds.

Their aim was to show how he defied the TADA charges and they were so successful that his conviction in possession of arms had no meaning. They also concluded that his parents in heaven must be happy and proud of him.

The parents of Major Pitambare are still on this earth and they have to live rest of their lives without their beloved son. His daughter won’t ever see her papa again.

Major Pitambare, Sir, to my generation there is no greater hero than one who laid his life in the name of this great nation. Hence Sir, I salute you. You are the real Star, Vande mataram.

Best Regards

Lenin J F

(Cross-posted on Sans Serif)

Two questions for the powers-that-be

10 January 2007

THE MYSORE INSIDER asks: As the Railway Ministry, under “Prof” L P Yadav sits down to finalise the Railway Budget, just what is the State Government doing about doubling and electifying the Bangalore-Mysore railway line?

Shouldn’t our CM, his cronies and State officials park themselves in Rail Bhavan, put our case, move strings and whatever, and get this project moving?

2. Just whatever happened to the’ Sound and Light’ programme at the Mysore Palace launched with such ‘Lightning, Thunder & Pomp’ last year ,where we were told, the script went out of hand and would be amended suitably ‘for the satisfaction of everybody’?

When will it ever see the light of the day after the State has poured millions or at least lakhs? Is any official losing sleep over this? Will it be  dusted and taken out of the drawers, just before Dasara Again?

Can cricket watching be the same minus Warne?

10 January 2007

SUNAAD RAGHURAM writes: He had the stealth of a panther rustling through the bushes on its haunches after having spotted an unsuspecting fawn. He had the courage of the tiger and the demeanour too when faced with aggression. He was like a snake whose hood had been inadvertently stroked; hissing, venomous and capable of striking at any given instant.

Yet, if enjoying the game was what it all had to be, then he perhaps clocked more smiles per over than any other bowler in the game’s history. After all, wasn’t he the one who took all the wickets, a mind-numbing 700 of them in Test cricket? One thousand in all in international cricket?

Shane Warne has retired. Yes, he has. Perhaps cosmic regulations that govern our planet don’t allow anything or anybody to go on for ever! It all had to come to an end some day. For Warne, it was 5 January 2007. The day the Aussies simply folded the Englishmen like a child would a strip of chewing gum before casually chewing it!

To say that Shane Warne was one of the most colourful personalities both on and off the cricket field is a bit like saying that the Amazon is a river! In other words, it was a given!

His dalliances with members of the fairer sex. His not- so-decent telephonic tryst with a nurse. His urge to smoke even after he had announced he wouldn’t. His boyish charm and high spiritedness. His clear-as-broad-daylight talent. His attitude towards his craft.

A man who wrote his own script although he once said that God had done a pretty good job of writing it in his case!

A man who was born to excel, to show off, to be different from the rest of the pack, to possess the genius to tease, draw, cajole, taunt, confuse, mystify and finish men who confronted him with a bat in hand at a cricketing crease.

Much to his own joy and that of his team mates who always came rushing to him at every demise of a bemused batsman, tousling his mop of blonde hair and merrily slapping him on his back.

The ink in the pens of cricket writers went dry soon after it dawned that we would never again see Shane Warne at the top of his bowling mark with a ball in hand.

The sight, though, will forever endure in the mind; of the blonde haired magician, whose incantation of ‘Abracadabra’ was always heard through the rattle of timber; with yet another ill-fated batsman standing transfixed at the batting crease, invariably in a pose of pathetic contortion, having completely misread the googly.

In some part of the world. On some cricket ground. With his team mates jumping around like a bunch of Kangaroos, in the throes of indescribable joy.


9 January 2007

Churumuri cordially invites you to visit its brother-blog ‘Sans Serif‘—India’s first newsroom blog that catalogues the news, the views, and the juice of the media. 

Sans Serif has been up and about for a private audience for over a month and a half. By now throwing it open, we hope to carry media issues beyond newsrooms into the browsers of news consumers, i.e. you, yes, you.

Drop by and drop anchor. It’s your Media Churumuri.

When life imitates art

9 January 2007

GOVINDA K writes: I was surprised to see a photo of Karnataka chief minister H D Kumara Swamy holding his former cabinet colleague and close friend Zameer Ahmad Khan at Aamby Valley, the resort where the Janata Dal legislators were holidaying over the weekend.

I felt that that this resembled a scene from the Hindi film Gangster. This is when the film’s “gangster” meets his guru around the time of the song “Ya Ali“. The film is said to be based on the real life story of Abu Salem.

At this meeting point, the “guru”—Gulshan Grover—holds his “shishya” (Abu Salem’s character) with his hands with much affection. What happens next should be seen on the screen only! But for now we can marvel at the striking similarity between art and life.

Objectivity is in the eyes of the beholder

9 January 2007

Vijay Times illustrator S Prakash redraws a classic 1940s cartoon that captures the self-righteous angst of every newspaper reader every morning.


The most f***ing versatile word in the world

8 January 2007

SUNAAD RAGHURAM writes: If any of you have any doubts about Rajneesh aka Osho being one of the most radical thinkers of the 20th century, here’s something that should help dispel any such lingering confusions.

Rajneesh was known to speak extempore on a whole gamut of subjects during evening times at his commune in Pune in the heyday of his cult in the 1980s.

Here’s a verbatim account of one such speech. A speech in which he so inimitably delineates one of the most commonly and widely used four letter expletives in the world, f***!

There is uproarious laughter among his disciples as he goes on and on, putting the F-word to good use, especially from the perspective of English grammar!

Here goes:

“F*** is one of the most beautiful words. English language should be proud of it….

“I don’t think any other language has any such beautiful word.

“One Tom from California has done great research on it. I think he must be the famous Tom. Of Tom, Dick, Harry fame…

“He says one of the most interesting words in the English language today is the word F***. It is a magical word. Just by its sound it can describe  pain, pleasure, hate and love.

“In language, it falls into many grammatical categories. It can be used as a verb, both transitive—John f***ed Mary—and intransitive—Mary was f***ed by John. And as a noun: Mary is a fine f***!

“It can be used as an adjective. Mary is f***ing beautiful. As you can see, there are not many words with the versatility of the word f***! Besides the sexual meaning, there are also the following uses.

Fraud: I got f***ed at the used car lot!

Ignorance: F*** if I knew!

Trouble: I guess I’m f***ed now!

Aggression: F*** you!

Displeasure: What the f*** is going on here!

Difficulty: I can’t understand this f***king job!

Incompetence: He is a f*** off!

Suspicion: What the f*** are you doing!

Enjoyment: I had a f***ing time!

Request: Get the f*** out of here!

Hostility: I’m going to knock your f***ing head off!

Greeting: How the f*** are you!

Apathy: Who gives a f***!

Innovation:  Get a bigger f***ing hammer!

Surprise: F***, you scared the shit out of me!

Anxiety: Today is really f***ed!

And it is very healthy too. If every morning you do it as a transcendental meditation… just when you get up… the first thing… repeat the mantra, f*** you, five times… it clears the throat… that’s how I keep my throat clear….enough for today!

postscript: This is a transcript from a sound file I received from a friend the other day! There couldn’t have been anything more hilarious and queerly odd for a lesson in English grammar! Hope not English professors in the Mysore University do a Rajneesh in class! But then, what the f***? I passed out quite a long time ago, didn’t I!